You think that you’re running a “normal” business, only to discover that your normal business is more like “Entrepreneurship-land”- a topsy-turvy carnival with a roller coaster ride or side-show attraction around every corner. One day, you’re climbing up the roller coaster at a slow clip, the next day, you’re doing a loop the loop upside-down and the next day, you’re plummeting straight down the giant drop. So, how do you overcome some common “Entrepreneurship-land” frustrations? Here are a few tips.
Dealing with the unexpected.
Just like a carnival, where a ride breaks down suddenly or there is an unreported rain downpour that causes shut-downs, all kinds of unexpected issues can (and will!) arise in your business. Even when you start out with well-intentioned business plans, systems and procedures in place, invariably, something will go wrong and force you off script.
So, embrace the carnival chaos and be adaptable! One major advantage that small businesses have over larger competitors is so much less red tape and bureaucracy to cut through. You can adapt to those new trends, implement new technologies and deal with the issues that pop up much more quickly and efficiently when those inevitable roller coaster twists and turns do occur.
Entrepreneurs have a lot of pride and often, want to do it all by themselves. But, just like the carnival rides and concession stands don’t run themselves, you can’t be all things and do all tasks in your business, either. Entrepreneurs often fall into the trap of thinking “it’s just faster, easier or better for me to do it by myself”.
While it may take a little time initially to train your staff properly or set up the appropriate procedures and systems, it will pay off majorly in the long run when you’re eventually freed up from dealing with the basic day-to-day business tasks and can focus on the big picture items in your business that only you can and should do. You shouldn’t be popping the popcorn, blowing up balloons or making change at the cashier; you should be focused on those tasks that produce revenue and grow your business.
Dealing with distractions.
At “Entrepreneurship-land”, focusing on the task at hand can be a big challenge. While you’re trying to write an article, craft the strategic vision for your company or manage your budget, the carnival barker is shouting at you through his megaphone and bears are circling around you riding unicycles, all while you’re trying to juggle the bowling pins, knives and chainsaws that keep getting thrown at you.
The best way to deal with these distractions is to create a consistent, immovable block of time in your schedule, whether it’s two hours every afternoon or 4 hours every Tuesday, and set it in stone. This is a distraction-free zone, so turn off your phone and whatever other devices cause you distraction, shut down your email, lock your office doors, use apps that block cat video websites (or whatever sites cause you to lose focus) for that period of time and get to work! The carnival barker will still be there once you’ve finished your important tasks.
Follow these tips and you’ll be the master of ceremonies at the Entrepreneurship-land carnival in no time!
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics.
Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure.