During uncertain times it’s natural to be afraid. But making business decisions out of fear can be the very thing that dooms your business. Use these six steps to become a fearless small business owner.
In a crowded marketplace burdened by a sluggish economy, ONLY THE FEARLESS SURVIVE!
STEP 1: Go Fishing for the Real You.
It’s time to focus on what you do better than anyone else and put that out there to your customers and prospects. You have to peel away all the layers that have made you a jack of all trades and hone your skills to become an expert at something that’s valuable right now. Perhaps you own a boutique ad agency and you can design anything, but what you do best work is build b-to-b websites. That’s your vein of gold, and where you can drive revenue to your customer’s bottom line.
STEP 2: Use Your Differences as a Lure.
In extraordinary economic times like these, the natural tendency is to just hunker down, do the work, cut back on expenses and try not to lose the business you have. News flash: That’s exactly the strategy that will probably hang you. Because if you’re not standing up, standing out, and standing for something important, your days may be numbered. Use the strengths of what makes you different to make a difference with your customers.
STEP 3: Find a Few Fish like You.
Step 3 on the path to fearlessness is to build relationships so that you can anchor yourself in these rough seas. Now is the time to reward your customers for their loyalty, get on an airplane and see them, take them out to lunch (nothing fancy or you’ll look out of touch), and stay connected through social networking sites. This is the moment to deepen customer relationships to ensure your security and your company’s future.
STEP 4: Swim in Their Ocean Your Way.
Every time you pitch a prospect you are a fish out of water. When you finally get inside, it’s important to learn how to be part of the culture without getting lost in it. As a small business owner, it can be deadly to get so entrenched with someone else’s culture or demands that you can’t find the real you. Instead look for what resonates with you and don’t buy into what doesn’t feel right. Stay true to your core values. If you don’t, at the end of this recession, you may not recognize yourself or your own company.
STEP 5: Put Yourself Out on the Line.
Businesses who shine a light on what’s different about them are perfectly positioned to make a difference. It’s not the wallflower who’s going to help their customers go green, or the conformist who will invent the new business model. Getting behind a cause is good for business and makes you look like a hero. Volunteer, join a board, make a major donation. You may be paralyzed by fear and feel like every minute you need to push that rock up the hill. Shake it off. Give to others instead and watch what you receive in return.
STEP 6: Evolve by Casting a Wide Net.
Conformity is not distinguishing. The way to live deeply is to keep reinventing yourself, changing with the times and with the your customers. Holding onto the essential you while updating your style, your website, your advertising and your thinking is the fastest way to the top. Step 6 of being a Fearless Fish asks that you use your place outside the circle to always be relevant to your customers and industry. It’s about staying true to the essence of who you are, and then recasting your image to feel brand new.
STEP 7: Reel in Your Unique Power.
Uncertainty makes everyone question their personal value and the value of their business. The fearless among us overcome these doubts by practicing their ABCs—action, belief, and courage. It’s time to stop wringing your hands and start raising your hand to make a difference. Believes in ourselves can either propel us, or hinder us. The story that you tell about your company is what others will believe. Use your unique power to make them believe that you are indispensable and that is exactly what you will be!
Copyright © 2009 Robin Fisher-Roffer author of The Fearless Fish Out of Water: How To Succeed When You’re The Only One Like You
Robin Fisher Roffer is the author of . An acclaimed speaker and CEO of Big Fish Marketing—one of the entertainment industry’s preeminent brand marketing and digital advertising agencies—she fearlessly advises clients like A&E, Bravo, CNN, Comedy Central, FX, MTV, NBC Universal, and Sony Pictures. For more information, please visit