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entrepreneur

In Support of Small Business Saturday

Local is the new black.

You, as an entrepreneur, understand the importance of investing dollars in local markets and of supporting endeavors such as Small Business Saturday. Now is a great time to be an owner of a locally-owned enterprise.

More than ever, shoppers are aware of the benefits of investing in their neighborhoods. In 2016 alone, the US small business sector was estimated to have an estimated 28 million businesses and was responsible for 54% of all domestic sales.

Between better customer service, benefits to the local economy and direct access to an expert, the opportunities for touting the benefits of local shopping are plentiful. The good news: you don’t have to work hard to encourage consumers to act upon this idea.

business owner

There are available resources and incentives to encourage entrepreneurship here in Charlottesville and in Virginia as a whole.

It is Charlottesville Business Innovation Council‘s mission to “educate, celebrate and advocate for Charlottesville’s technology community” by giving support to the high-tech businesses in the area.

Centra Virginia SCORE is a resource that serves the counties of Albemarle, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange by providing mentoring and other assistance for those looking to start a business or improve their existing business strategy.

Central Virginia’s Partnership for Economic Development offers counseling, information, and training to Central Virginia’s entrepreneurs.

BlackOwnedCville is a resource that allows you to look for goods and services sourced from local businesses owned by black residents of Charlottesville.

Finally, the City of Charlottesville’s Office of Economic Development has resources available to women and minority entrepreneurs.

Embracing the Failure

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

-Winston Churchill

You’ve filed all the paperwork, you’ve rented your shop, bought your materials, and now you’ve realized that you really don’t know what you’re doing. The truth is, so many successful people admit to a feeling of inadequacy or failure from time to time. Imposter syndrome can be a tough mental challenge to break through when just starting your own business.

From an evolutionary standpoint, those butterflies you’re feeling are evidence of a natural response to stressful stimuli. The good news is that these feelings can be harnessed and used in a productive way.

Science agrees: it’s not that business owners are naturally able to quell these bouts of real stress and fear. However, they’ve learned to let those feelings feed their ambitions. They’ve learned to operate and perform their best under stressful conditions.

Simply put, “success comes from failure.” Entrepreneurs are better able to handle these stressors because they’ve become practiced at it.

entrepreneur

“Only those that dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

-Robert F. Kennedy

The more you become accustomed to managing these fight or flight triggers, the better you will become at allowing the fear to do what it is naturally supposed to- increase your awareness so that you will land on your feet. Look at this seemingly negative thing as a positive experience. In other words, “reframe the fear.”

Learning how to manage your time as a business owner and setting a schedule is imperative to actively maintaining key tasks and initiatives. Delegating the work that isn’t what you do best is arguably one of the most important skills that an entrepreneur can master early in the game. This will increase your confidence and free your mental energy for more important tasks.

Growth Awaits Beyond the Comfort Zone

Many business owners and entrepreneurs are looking for the thing that sets them apart.  What makes you and your business different?  Is your business continuing to grow?  Are you innovating your product or service to improve on what you’ve done historically or in order to adapt to the changing culture and economy?  Are you stuck in the status quo, comfortable, maybe too comfortable,… even possibly in a rut?  All excellent questions that savvy business owners must ask themselves frequently in order to keep the creative juices flowing and stay ahead of their competition.

I heard the expression years ago that growth exists about an inch outside or your comfort zone.  Getting past this hurdle and opening up to new ideas or taking a fresh look at your business can make a world of difference.  This is where one may find the next big thing.  Or more realistically, at the very least, this consideration keeps work exciting, keeps the passion lit and could possibly even spark the idea that takes the business to the next level.

Entrepreneurs Prepare For Your Next Great Performance

In the article, “Leaders Succeed When They Go Where Their Fear Tells Them to Avoid“, the author uses the great analogy of a performer approaching the stage.  They often welcome the feelings of fear or anxiety to motivate them and as they overcome them, the crowd applauds.  In the article, Bill Connolly states,  “We need stability as much as we need risk. However, for leaders to realize massive success, they have to be willing to leave the safety net of stability behind and follow their fears into the unknown.”

There are many fears that can creep up for the entrepreneur, leading to doubt, hesitation and inaction.  Taking the leap beyond the constraints of the comfort zone starts with action, making a decision.  This reminds me of the inspirational speaker Charlie “Tremendous” Jones when he stated, “Don’t wait until you can make the right decision; Make a decision and then make it right”.  Of course business owners and entrepreneurs need to make informed, educated, and calculated decisions.  However, asking good questions and pushing beyond the everyday norm can stimulate expansion into new frontiers and can lead to rewarding results.  Entrepreneurs and small business owners can sit with or even welcome fears before overcoming them through bold decisions and fearless commitment.  It may not be comfortable but that’s where the growth is.