Lend my ear, and I will listen.
Conversation as a small business owner is important. No only for the well being of our business but also for own wellness as a business owner. It can be tough when you are out there trying to make a dollar and juggle all the aspects of running your business.Listening and having conversations is networking but enhances our direction for our business.
As a small business owner, it is important never to put the cruise control button about your business.You need to continually ask questions about your business to anybody you think will add value and assist you in seeing your pathway forward. We live in a global world where competition and change is rapid. Questions will lead to innovation and don’t be afraid to ask why and how. As the business owners, we should always be looking at ways we can make our business better. Sometimes we just need someone to listen to us and bounce ideas off. So, who do you direct our questions to? The list is endless but here is a start:
- Yourself – why am I in a business, where am I going and how to exit?
- Your staff – are things in the way we run the business right or can we improve? Ask for their opinion and for one percenter that will show immediate improvement
- Your customers – are they happy with service and products we provide? Maybe undertake a mystery shopper experience to see what the results are
- Ask your family and close friends – do they see the business growing. Often the family and friends will be your biggest supporters and critics. They will tell you how it is!
- Business partners – do you have honest and positive conversations about each other’s needs
- Suppliers can tell you what happens in the industry. Be careful if they talk about your competitors what are they saying about you to others?
- Google – check your analytics’ and see if you are getting a result
- Speak to your accountant. Your accountant can discuss the numbers and the trends. We are trained to help identify the trends that you may not have seen. They should offer guidance
- Speak to your coffee man or hairdresser. These people are eyes and ears of your local community and know what happens at a ground level.
As you can see, there are lots of sources for good conversation. If you start asking questions to be prepared to hear some home truths. Some people will tell you what you want to hear and others will tell you how it is. It will be your job to decipher what is worth using and what negative talk could put you off your game. Sometimes people seek advice and ignore it or ask a million people and do nothing. What I have learnt is that is okay as well. You can only ask. If someone chooses to ask for your advice, then this is a great start. Listening to somebody is also important. Small business owners sometimes just need someone to work through their ideas and frustrations. It is why it is important to use friends and advisers as no one person has all the answers.
As accountants, every day we are confronted with business owners and the way they operate their business. Talking regularly to your accountant and asking questions are ratios and benchmarking will help you understand your business. Our service includes exit planning pathways for business for our clients . Setting a pathway takes conversation and planning.
Wellness is an important aspect as to how your business performs. Start the discussion. Ask the question to your fellow business friends are they okay and how are they going. R U OK? Day is an annual day in September (the second Thursday) dedicated to reminding people to ask family, friends and colleagues the question, “R U OK?”. Connecting regularly and meaningfully is one thing everyone can do to make a difference to anyone who might be struggling. Start asking questions around direction and opportunities. Encourage Action and support. Small businesses often hide behind the shop front facade and often don’t reach out for help. Recognise that it is important to have a conversation. Our business recognises that R You OK Day is important for small business owners to connect, engage and ask questions.
Take time to ask questions and seek direction. Asking questions will stimulate an answer which will inspire innovation change and direction.But most of all take the time to make sure you are OK.