I have always been a rebel, in a somewhat conservative way. I guess my rebellion started in high school. I just didn’t like to go to classes that were not taught well. I know I was only in high school, but I still didn’t want to waste my time.
I didn’t get in huge trouble because, in my rebellion, I still went to school–I just went to the school newspaper room. I would hide there and work on the paper. I guess I deem my disorder as productive rebellion.
In college, it continued. All I accomplished was having worse grades than I wanted, and I had to make it up in grad school.
At work, I was good at curtailing my rebellion, as long as I could be moved to new positions often, and have flexibility in how I managed and led my teams.
It wasn’t until I took a test for some kind of leadership week and it warned me that, one day, my rebellion would be noticed for what it truly was. I had managed to successfully disguise it through meeting and achieving goals that were set.
Finally, I was tired of feeling the inner angst, and went into my own business.
So how does rebellion show up when you own your own business? And how can you make it productive? How can your rebellious nature actually be an asset in difficult times?
I want to provide you with a different paradigm to view this inner angst and frustration that comes from following the day-to-day business path of most small business owners.
You Don’t Have To See Things The Way That Everyone Else Does
Have you ever read about really successful people and how they went against the flow of the economy? Successful investors are buying things when the real estate market crashes or the stock market tumbles. They are not selling.
When the economy is in a slump, many many small business owners want to hunker down and go into wait mode.
The rebel, the successful entrepreneur, will not sit around and wait for things to look up. They take this time to look for opportunities.
When Times Are Bad, Don’t Stop Leading
It is interesting that you see the most leadership when things are going well. In these times, it is certainly easier to lead and much more fun to lead. However, your leadership is crucial when times are tough.
Use your rebellion to be different. Stand strong in difficult times and let your team know that not only will things be okay, but also that you have plans to be bold. Being bold does not mean being stupid. It means you aren’t going to sit around and bite your nails.
- You will strengthen your business foundations.
- You will better train your team.
- You will evaluate and adjust your pricing.
- You will improve process and reduce costs.
- You will go after new industries (staying true to your original vision though).
- You will be present and communicate– to customers, vendors, and your team.
And in All Things, Plan and Execute
We all do better when we have a plan. When business is hard, plan your way out of it. This plan can take on a variety of shapes:
- Plan to improve the quality of your work and customer service.
- Plan to get the message out about your business and services through well-thought-out marketing plans.
- Plan a new product or service launch.
We tend to achieve our goals better with strong plans, but ultimately, even a great plan is useless without execution. We don’t know if the plan is a good plan or a bad plan unless we executed it well.
Too often I discuss plans with clients who come back weeks later saying they are not any closer to their goal. When we begin to discuss the plan it turns out it was not fully executed.
The funny thing is that often they are looking for a new plan. I wouldn’t want to come up with a new plan if my old plan is fine if we just execute.
Without execution, it is just words on paper.
When You Are Small, You Can Be Agile
When you are a small business, you should be able to shift strategies or target markets more quickly than a giant publicly traded company.
You can quickly stop spending on discretionary items.
You can quickly discuss terms and renegotiate pricing with your vendors.
Take advantage of your size and make decisions that will not only enhance your profit margins but will position you for growth much sooner than the rest of the industry.
Make Your Rebellion Productive
If you are a small business owner/entrepreneur chances are you have a bit of this inner rebellion. Let’s harness the power that fuels our rebellion and put it to productive use.
Don’t stand for the status quo of the millions of small businesses that go under every year. Dare to be different.
Look at your business through a different lens.
Lead more confidently and boldly.
Make plans and fully execute.
Take action and move.
As we are coming to the end of another year, I want to encourage you to plan for the coming year. Yes, plan if you are doing well and have resources to employ. But also plan if you are in difficult times. Your business can be the outlier and still do well in a substandard market.