It’s undeniable that in 2017, people are feeling more shame and guilt than ever before about reaching out for help in business when they need it. There are also a lot of business owners who underestimate the skills and expertise required to grow a successful business, outside of the products and services they deliver. Consequently, there’s a lot of talented people out there who aren’t realising their potential, which is evident in the estimated overall 80% business failure rate.
Business owners often place an immense amount of pressure on themselves to succeed and the popular narrative we see running in the media and elsewhere isn’t helping. Statements such as, “all you need is a Smartphone, a laptop, the internet and social media,” can set up false expectations around what it truly takes to grow a small business.
Knowing when to reach out for help is one of the most important strengths of any successful business owner and the reality is that growing a successful business takes investment of money, time and energy. Here are five signs that a business owner needs to seek outside help from a business mentor or another qualified professional.
Going back to 9-5 seems like the better option
Working 24/7 and the constant grind, especially in the first couple of years in business, is tough. It can lead those who are struggling to feel as though going back into the traditional workforce where they commonly sat at a desk all day, did their hours and left anything that wasn’t finished behind, is the better option. Add to that entitlements like annual leave and sick leave and going back to a traditional workplace setting looks very tempting. The thing is that there’s a difference between hard work and overwhelm. Recognising the burnout before you make any major decisions is crucial. This is a major warning sign that you’re just not coping and it’s time to consider getting help.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping a steady job while building your business or working part time until you’re ready to transition (in fact, this is more common than many business owners will admit). However, if you’re ready to throw in the towel entirely, think about the reasons why. Is it because you really don’t want to continue in your business, are not sure what steps to take to solve the problems you’re experiencing or does the grass merely seem greener on the other side? If you’re experiencing problems and you are ready and committed to solving them, that’s the best time to ask for help.
You’re wondering if your landlord will accept rent in the form of ‘exposure’
Particularly in the early days of setting up your small business, you’re likely to find that your budget is squeezed to the max, which of course, puts strain on other areas of your life such as paying your rent on time or contributing to your mortgage. It’s important that you seek financial advice to ensure you can meet your financial commitments.
It won’t be long in business before you realise that there’s a plethora of people out there who like to use ‘exposure’ as a form of currency. Whilst ‘exposure’ in itself is valuable and can generate some great opportunities, unfortunately, it alone won’t pay the bills.
Often, business owners struggle to understand how to set up an appropriate business model or have an intense fear of selling. So they’ll continually offer things for free in the hope someone will realise that what they’re offering is worth paying for. If left unchecked, where this inevitably leads is to complete burnout and very empty pockets. If you’re finding yourself over-exposed and underpaid, it’s a good time to consider reaching out for help.
You hit the download button on ‘proven formulas to make a million dollars’
“A million dollars is just one click away!” How many times have you received an email with a similar subject line? When you’re struggling, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one failing, missing crucial answers. Whilst the ‘proven formulas’ themselves can be valuable, one person’s version of success isn’t always going to apply to every business.
Business can be a rollercoaster ride and when times are tough, we like to seek quick fixes and answers that can often leave us feeling a bit lacklustre. The key is to find someone who can help you build your own path to success.
You’re at yet another networking event wishing your life away
The key to being successful in business is to connect with the right kind of people, not just connect with everyone. Small business owners subsequently put themselves through harrowing networking experiences that totally suck their soul and leave them questioning the meaning of life. The good news is, when you understand how to connect with your ideal buyers and connect with other quality business owners, you won’t have to go through this anymore. It is possible to make a living in a way that aligns with your purpose, values and beliefs when you know how. Sans the awkward elevator pitches.
If you see one more person Facebook about their epic life, you’ll burn your laptop
Comparing yourself to others is a slippery slope and one that leads to an ever-growing phenomenon of ‘business envy.’ This is particularly true when you base your assessment of others on a Facebook feed or Instagram post. There are a lot of people out there who are sugar coating the start-up grind. The key is to figure out what’s normal start up grind (hard work), versus problems that you don’t know how to solve which are stalling the growth of your business (overwhelm). The good news is it doesn’t have to be this hard and investing in the right kind of help can lead to a great return on your investment. Understand what problems specifically you need help with solving and who is going to be the best expert to help you get results.