Charles Darwin says “It’s not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is responsive to change.”
Ain’t that the truth! The thing is though, that it is not only generally true to life but very definitely true of business and in particular small businesses.
I know that when I started my business, I had a very clear idea of what was supposed to happen. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do and how it was going to get done and I had a very clear idea about who my clients would be.
Then I hit reality! You see just because I know what a small business needs, doesn’t mean that the guy who owns that small business will agree with me! That doesn’t mean that the guy who owns that small business even understands the true value of what I do that helps his business. That doesn’t mean that the guy who owns that small business, even though he may understand the value of what I do, has the money to put that value to good use.
The first couple of years were hard I must admit. Time and time again, I walked into businesses that were in desperate need of what I do, who could or would not afford me. Time and time again I walked into businesses that were floundering along and the owner was so engrossed in putting one foot in front of the other to keep himself above the water that he could not see how with each footstep he was walking deeper and deeper into the water. People saw (and in many instances, still do see) what I do as a ‘grudge’ purchase (much as most of us see insurance) and they resented having to buy my wares. Sad that – really sad.
Here’s the thing though, I had to change my mindset and find other ways to bring money in. I had to change my thinking and expand my list of offerings, if I didn’t I would soon have become another statistic. People, especially small business owners, were not ready to see that what I do (no matter what they pay for it now) actually saves them money in the long run and until such time as I could make them see that and understand that, I would have to look in other directions to bring the monthly revenues in.
So I looked in similar but different directions and so my workshop A Basic Practical Guide to Starting a Business was born. From there my vision and dreams have expanded and now I have a whole bunch of facilitators – all small business owners, like myself, teaching small business owners what they need to learn. Each one of the facilitators are people who are passionate about what it is that they do and each one is an expert in their own fields. What makes their training unique is the fact that they are entrepreneurs who teach others and share their knowledge. They share the experiences of what they did, how to avoid what they would have liked to avoid and how to ‘rake it in’ where possible. They are not the big corporate giants trying to teach entrepreneurs something that they have no clue how to do – run a small business.
Have I abandoned my dream, the original dream? Of course not, actually I do a great deal of work in that arena and I love it as much as I did when I started – more probably because of what I have had to endure to keep it alive. That said, I am constantly looking for new avenues, new opportunities and new adventures and believe me when I say “I mean to have my cake and eat it!”
In order to survive, to flourish and grow, though – you do have to adapt. Remember to constantly look around you and see the potential – not just see it, but feel it and embrace it and then do something about it.