Being a small business owner or entrepreneur can be a lonely feeling. The success of your business depends, it feels like, totally on you from everything in the big picture to the nuts and bolts of day-to-day operations.
We talked to Anthony Matula, the founder of the successful marketing and graphic art firm Ma2La. He runs it with his wife, Laura, and their clients have included the Nashville Ballet and Studio Tenn.
He had some tips for small business owners like himself, and we broke them down into three main points, using the analogy of thinking about your business as a journey or trip. It is so easy to get lost in the day-to-day, having a big-picture in mind can get your through minor mishaps and setbacks, and give you something to check your progress against.
“The first thing you want to do is to know what is your destination? For a small business that is determining your end goal of success,” he said.
Set the right goals
It is important to take the time to make sure the goal you have is the right one. How do you measure success? How do you define failure? It is important to always be thinking about the big picture, because goals can shift with circumstances. Be constantly evaluating the goal you are aiming at, is it the right goal for your company, today?
As a small business, sometimes the end goals you had when you began the business evolve and change as your company grows.
The second tip is about reaching that goal. Think about your route to that goal, and when you make a decision, small or large, ask yourself if that is in service of your goal? Always be asking yourself questions. Confidence is a great thing, but so is being self-critical. Keeping with the map metaphor– know what your ‘destination’ is.
“This part is important because having a goal is great, but knowing how to get there and accomplishing that goal is crucial. Some ‘rest stops’ along the way might be asking, are we still on the right track and do we actually still want to reach our final destination? It is crucial as a small business to develop a plan and to pay close attention to your surroundings as you pursue your plan.
Don’t forget to dream big
The third tip is non-tangibles– dare to ask the awesome questions. What would be my dream five-year plan? What if limits on capital, inventory or competition didn’t matter?
Freeing your mind up of obstacles, that though real, allow you to see angles or opportunities you might not otherwise dare to pursue.
“This is when it starts to get really fun. Assess your business, discover where you want to go, determine the best route to get there and the appropriate amount of time it will take you to get there. Oh, and don’t forget to bring plenty of snacks.”