Five Lessons that are Out-of-the-Box

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Best practices are things that are there for a reason as they’re consistent and usually work. Best practices will form the foundation for your decision-making process in your small business. However, don’t get stuck on them as that may not be what’s in your best interest all the time. Here are some of those lessons that you should take to heart, but not always obvious from the start.

It’s the Small Things

Big wins are exciting, and there’s nothing like seeing that jump in sales to get the blood running. Unfortunately, big wins are usually the result of luck and timing; two things over which you have no control. You can’t blame someone for getting stuck trying to get home runs due to their emotional impact, however, it’s an ineffective way to go at all things. Focusing on those small daily wins in an effort to improve every day is more valuable to your business than stalling things while trying to get a home run. Consistency is what leads to strong companies.

Hold Something Back

Commitment is a big deal for small businesses, and for good reason. Try to create a company with one foot out the door and the competition will crush you, simply because they’re willing to devote more. Even so, too many mistakes this for going all-in on a business or decision, no matter the risk involved. Sadly, most of the time this attitude isn’t even necessary.

When should you consider going all-in on a business or decision? When all other options guarantee failure, and even then, failure might be the lesser of the two evils because it limits your losses. Taking your time testing the waters or going slowly isn’t a bad thing, especially if the price of failure is a dead business.

Use What Still Works

Are you one of those entrepreneurs who are always on the lookout for new ways to do things? Your production line can become more efficient or your marketing more effective with new technology, and anything that makes you more efficient than your competition is great. However, you can try to take it too far and end up reinventing the wheel again and again.

That new technology may be revolutionary but that doesn’t mean it’s better than what’s been done before. You need to exam any new technology carefully before changing your system to accommodate it. How much time will it take to implement? Does the gain in productivity or efficiency warrant the time relative to how long you’ll use it? These are some of things to consider.

Be Skeptical of Mainstream Thoughts

Running a small business is about appealing to as much as your target market as possible without diluting your focus. For many entrepreneurs, you’re listening to mainstream opinions and ideas, and thinking that represents the majority. Sadly, frequently mainstream opinions don’t represent a majority. Rather, it exposes how the average person thinks, and they don’t understand how business works. They don’t even understand, or care, why you’re doing something. There are times when it makes sense to listen to prominent statements, refuse the urge to substitute those thoughts for your own. Trust yourself as no one knows your business like you.

Stay Ambitious

Too many people will try to temper your expectations and tell you to be happy with what you got. They think they mean well, as they just don’t want you to be disappointed. You have to stay ambitious as no matter the industry competition is fierce. You don’t want to get left in the dust because you’re not pushing for growth and innovation.

As a small business owner, you’ll have to learn some unusual rules and lessons, but the above should get you have to a good start. If you’re having trouble figuring out the rest, just focus on what it is you want to accomplish. What is the most efficient way to do this? You don’t want to get stuck on what everyone else is doing. Look at what you can do and you’ll find the answer.

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About the Author

President/CEO Number Crunchers® Accounting Inc. Learn how to just say stuff it to this bookkeeping thing with our 'Just Say: "Stuff It" To Bookkeeping program.