Last week was National Small Business Week. According to a Small Business Owner Report from Bank of America, running a small business is nearly three times more stressful than raising children. If that’s the case, then small business owners might benefit from these mindfulness-based strategies to help manage their business with more clarity, ease, and creativity:
Pay attention. Build and sustain a relationship with your customers by providing great customer service, really listening to their concerns or suggestions, and staying in touch with them on a regular basis. Remember, your customers can be your greatest teachers and most persuasive advocates. By focusing on your current clientele, you will learn invaluable lessons and generate more opportunities for your business.
Respond, don’t react. We have written a lot about the value of responding to customer concerns and negative reviews, but the difference between responding and reacting is significant. Reacting is defensive and tries to set the record straight, often by calling the reviewer out. “If XYZ had been different, this wouldn’t have happened.” The reality is that it did happen, so it’s better to focus on what you can do now to make it right and resolve the issue with your customer. If you make your response public, then you can also demonstrate your professionalism and assure your prospects that the same thing won’t happen to them.
Use a “Beginner’s mind” approach. Things are always changing — technology, the economy, our customers’ needs. Change is good and can help your business improve. If you are aware of the changes and open to new suggestions, strategies, and technological innovations, then you are likely to reap the benefits. This does not mean that you absolutely have to have a Facebook page for your business or the latest scheduling software, but it is worth investigating your options, especially because they could help you manage and grow your business with a lot less stress.
To practice mindfulness techniques, you will have to practice surrendering. Let go of being an expert in order to try new things and see if they are a good fit for your business. Listen and ask questions instead of seeking answers. With a beginner’s mind, you will experience less fear of failure. Just remember that it is okay to not get it right the first time.