Yes, we are certifiably crazy. Last week we adopted the most adorable 3lb bundle of furry love named Hazel. We already have a 14-year-old Viszla and have been discussing the idea of bringing a new dog into our home before our beloved Penny passes on.
We didn’t think we wanted a puppy. Energy galore, accidents on the floor, barking at 3:30 am to be let out of her crate…you know…regular puppy stuff. But this little dear just seems worth the rough parts. We see the long-term payoffs for working hard now to train Hazel to be a polite and safe dog when she’s older.
Today I was reminded how similar having a puppy is to opening and running a business, even if you have experience. Similar to the growing pains of a puppy, your business will put you through the paces and demand to be trained into the calm, joyful and productive companion you know it can be.
Here is what Hazel reminded me of today:
1. If it’s quiet, something is not right & you need to check it out. Like, RIGHT now.
Rather than wondering why it’s so quiet & spending money on marketing, start exploring potential issues. It may be time to send out a short anonymous questionnaire (no more than five questions) asking for feedback. Ask clients to be brutally honest so that you can improve their experience. Use a free service like www.surveymonkey.com
2. Being a toddler means using the age appropriate expectations & strategies
If you are in your first year or two of business, consider yourself a Toddler regardless of how much experience you have. Business success takes TIME. Time to think, to strategize and to execute ideas exceptionally well. You wouldn’t expect a small child to compete in the Olympics before they’ve learned to crawl, right?
Even if you are doing everything right, it will still take at least a year to be generating the revenues you need to live on. Don’t be too hard on yourself if your book isn’t full right now. Take things step-by-step: sign up for an online webinar, join a local networking group or hire a business coach. These are all great ideas to keep you moving forward with client attraction.
3. Just because I’ve done this before doesn’t mean I know what I’m doing right now.
Here’s the thing: economies change, people’s buying habits change, technology changes and so does your business needs. What worked 10 or 15 years ago may not turnout the same right now.
But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet, because you may only need to make a small adjustment to an old strategy to make it another blazing success. Tweek, test, tweek, test.
4. Hire an expert who knows the stuff I don’t.
Tomorrow we start our first puppy training class with Darcie from CommuniCanine. I may figuree it out eventually by searching online and watching Youtube videos on “how to train your new puppy”, but I want to (re)learn this correctly and from a trusted expert so we can fast-track Hazel’s success. And so that we don't lose our minds.
Similar to business, some techniques become dated, and technology is changing so rapidly, it’s difficult for companies to keep up. An expert in your field shares with you the tricks of the trade to make your life easier, faster. Don’t reinvent the wheel; it is money & time well invested.
Sweet Hazel has already brought so much fun and joy into our lives, just as my business did when I first opened. And it is this softening of our hearts for our expectations and the gentle nudge to step up to our responsibilities that will get us through the rough spots of a Toddler business.
By the way, this is happening now...
Note: Hazel was adopted from Dog Bless Rescue Partners in Victoria BC. They rescued her and her sister at 10 weeks from a high kill shelter in Alabama.
What a passionate and dedicated team they are!