June 22, 2015

Rachel Strella

Small Business Owners: What If...

small business adviceI've worked with small business owners since I launched my own small business in 2010. From start-ups to fourth generation family-owned companies, I've witnessed first-hand the challenges that small businesses face on a regular basis. It's probably no surprise that lack of time and resources are among them. Remaining competitive is a challenge, especially for local businesses who rely on their current customer base to keep them in business and continue to tell others. And, like many of us in the digital age, work/life balance continues to be an ongoing struggle.

As I consider these challenges, I started to toy with a few 'what if' scenarios.

What if...money were no object? Well, no one would need to work, right? I find that doubtful for small business owners who love what they do. But, really, what if money were no object? What would you do with unlimited funds?

What if...there was no competition and you dominated the marketplace with your product and service? What would you do differently, if anything?

What if...you had the entire day to do whatever you wanted because of all the 'regular' small business work was complete? What would you do with your day? Would work/life balance still be an issue?

With any of these scenarios, I can really only speak for myself, so here are my answers...just for fun!

If money were no object, I would hire more people! I would hire someone to handle my everyday tasks such as listening voicemails, researching client industry trends and running errands.  I would also hire someone to master pesky, but important social media tools like PowerEditor (for Facebook advertising), contest apps, and new software to streamline the social media management tasks for our clients.

If there were no competition, I would use all the money and resources that I acquired in the previous scenario to ensure we offer the best solution for every type of business in existence. And not just any solution, but one with well-defined metrics and results that will meet each and every one of their goals.

If I had the entire day to do whatever I wanted, I would do the stuff that I've always enjoyed, but do not currently have enough time to do.  I would love to blog every day, participate in more Twitter chats, hold more speaking engagements, and read all of the blogs currently sitting in my feed!  I would love to do more to give back, as well, particularly to the non-profit organizations that do not have the funds to hire us to provide much-needed social media strategies and management plans.

Now that I've written these on paper,  I find it funny how none of this is really out of my reach. My goals were just not always clear because - for whatever reason - I didn't believe they were realistic or attainable. Or maybe I spent too much time working in areas that didn't bring me closer to my ultimate goal. I've learned a lesson with this exercise and that's the importance of vision. Many of us had a vision for our business when we started. In fact, I just re-visited my vision and mission statement as part of my revised business plan in 2011. I'm not certain how I misplaced my vision over the years, but I'm glad I stumbled upon it now because I can begin to align the business with the values I set out to achieve five years ago.

I encourage you to try this exercise and see if it helps you. And I would love to know what you would do if money were no object, if you had no competition, and if you had the entire day to do whatever you wanted.

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