Businesses go out of business for many reasons. But one of the major reasons is just not sticking it out long enough.
Starting a business is easy. It’s sticking it out and growing your business that is hard. All of us have had days, weeks, or even months when we’ve wondered if it is worth it. No matter what we did, few people seemed to be interested and even fewer were buying. Money is tight. Inventory is sitting on the shelves with expiration dates ticking down to the wire. During that period of our business, it’s all to easy to just throw up our hands and say, “Enough is enough! I quit!”
But if you are truly a “Creative Entrepreneur”, you know that even if you quit, you’ll be back sometime, some day. And that is exactly the reason you shouldn’t give up. It’s much harder to restart your business later than it is to change from a growth mode to a maintenance one and patiently do whatever it takes to stay in business.
A Personal Example
I operate my business with no full-time employees. I made that decision early in the game and created ways to grow the business and profits without depending on employees. That’s great as long as I’m around and am healthy. But a few years ago, the flu turned into pneumonia that wouldn’t react to antibiotics and I ended up in the hospital for two weeks. Recovery at home was slow and operating my business was tiring. It would have been all to easy to just pull back into my shell, like a turtle does when disaster strikes, and give up on the business.
But I knew that once I was feeling better, I would regret it. I would want to be back in business. And, I also knew that if I gave up at that moment in time, restarting would be difficult. Of course, for several months I was too exhausted to maintain the pace I previously had. But Instead of closing my doors, I simply shifted down and went at a slower speed. Friends and family helped me fill the essential orders. My grandson took over the creation of my apartment gifts and discovered that he loved doing it. Explanations were made to loyal customers who were willing to wait. And, I discovered that if disaster strikes an Internet business, a message of explanation can easily be placed on the website. Of course, I’m sure I lost a few customers but I also saw how loyal many of my existing ones were.
Disaster can strike at any time. A husband becoming very ill. Death in the immediate family. Hurricanes. Tornados. Earthquakes. They can all slow you down. These will be times when you feel that you’ve reached the end of your rope and simply want to give up.
But unless you’ve made the decision to go out of business permanently and know that you won’t want to start it up again later, do what you can to slow down the pace, put as much as possible on automatic pilot. Patiently do as much as you can, without stressing yourself out, to maintain what you have created. Call on others to help you–or if you’re discouraged–find someone to mentor you and help keep your spirits up. You’ll be amazed at how much others are willing to help and how understanding most (but unfortunately not all) customers can be. And, then when the disaster ends, you can switch to the growth mode once again without having to start all over.
Have you ever been tempted to close your business during a down time or a disaster, but had the patience to stick it out? Do you credit that to the existence of your business today? I’d love to hear your experiences as well.
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