It’s a common refrain by now and we’re only a little more than half way through the year: I’m so done with this year. It’s been one challenge after another for just about everyone in a year that we had big hopes for. In recent years parts of our world have experienced challenges, but this year it seems like every part of the world is experiencing not only some of the same challenges, but others on top of that as well. It’s been a good year for some businesses and a very difficult one for others. Many of us have had to learn new ways of communicating, running our businesses, working together, and working with our customers and clients. This week has added another challenge in some people’s lives with the hurricane/tropical storm that knocked out power and blocked resources, but thankfully it moved through quickly so cleanup could begin and progress return.
I’m getting to the point where I don’t think I should ever use the words “this week I’m planning to get ahead” any more, but the bigger thing I’ve been considering this week has been about how do we battle all of the challenges thrown at us as business owners? I think it starts with us individually with our own businesses, but we can’t ignore or block out the rest of the world and those who we do business with or are also doing business.
I don’t know that there are any truly new businesses out there, most businesses have competition even if it’s in another state or country, they’re not the only business selling what they’re selling. Most industries have tons of competition, the auto and health industries just to name two, and each business owner has to decide what to do with that competition. I don’t think it’s necessary to niche specifically, but every business should have something they specialize in or are known for, even if it’s just their fantastic customer service that always goes the extra mile. So the first question is what are you bringing to the table as a business owner and business?
Second, we’ll only win the battle if we work together. That means having employees and/or suppliers who you have good relationships with and are willing to go the extra mile with you because of the relationship that you have built, and you know that you can trust them to have your back because of that same relationship. It also means seeing other businesses less as ‘the enemy’ and more as people who are part of your network. These are people who experience many of the same mental and emotional struggles that you do, who are also working to make a decent living for themselves and their team, and also want to provide a good experience to their customers. I do believe that we can pay it forward and we can work and learn together and not only make our individual businesses stronger, but also make customer experiences better and help advance the business world as a whole.
So how do we win the battle? As with many things, it’s something you have to fight on both an individual and team level. We’ll never be able to right the business world if we’re only in it for ourselves, and we’ll never be able to succeed if we don’t put our best foot forward. Take time this month to not only shore up your business and make it the best it can be, but also make an effort to network with other business owners and talk about how you can support each other personally and professionally so we can get out of this year stronger than we were last year.