Getting To Know YOU – And Why It’s Crucial For Micro Business Success

businessman having questionsWhy did you start your micro business?

Chances are you are involved in a ‘microbiz’ because you wanted to work on your own (or outside the control of a formal organisation). Or maybe because you were trying to be free from the stress of managing people and wanted the chance to get on and develop a brilliant and creative idea of your own!

Whatever your reason, we know that no man (or woman) is an island.

Which means if you want to get the best out of your business, you have to learn to get the best out of other people.

In this week’s Team Work series I will draw on team development techniques, and some coaching tools to show you how to do just that.

And the starting point is to understand yourself…

You see to understand how to work with and get the best out of others, it is important to understand yourself first. You need to know what motivates you.

There are some basic things like pay and a safe working environment that we need as a minimum (although different people may well demand different levels of pay & conditions) but the really interesting layers of motivation are the ones that sit above these.  Interesting, because everyone is different.

  • Some are motivated by interaction with people
  • Others by the sense of achievement in an immediate tasks
  • And others by building towards a long term vision.

What motivates you?

What you love to spend your time on? What energises you? Figure this out and you will have the key to success.

Then consider carefully when you work with others whether they are motivated by the same things as you, or by something different and be sure to tailor your approach to them appropriately.  It’s great to work with people who are motivated by different things, because there’s a chance that they’ll love the jobs you hate.

Also watch out for tiredness – when we work outside of our comfort zone it is incredibly tiring.  You might want to plan your diary with this in mind.  If you are a task person then you may well get exhausted by working with people so maybe a full day meeting clients should be balanced with some time  ‘off’ getting the invoices done?

Or if you love thinking about long term vision, and shaping the future don’t be surprised if you get worn out chasing after deadlines.

In addition put time aside to be creative (at Google staff get one day a week ‘off’ from their allocated projects and are free to work on their own ideas…  Google say that the majority of their most lucrative innovations come from this ‘20% time’!)

In addition, try these five tips and techniques:

  1. Get an honest appraisal of your own strengths and weaknesses.  There are various online tools, and personality tests [I work a lot with the Belbin Team roles, but you may also want to consider Myers Briggs, or others].  You’ll find that a great place to start in understanding how you work with others is understanding yourself.  Find out what motivates you, what excites you, what you are good at.  Be brave and ask others what they think!  You might be surprised how you come across to others. Alternatively Business Coaching might be a ‘safer’ way of exploring some of these issues, and can be particularly useful if you are facing a particular issue in your business relationships.
  2. Buy in back up.  Don’t stretch yourself too thin.  It’s a false economy to do everything yourself, so be honest about what you’re good at and what you enjoy and make space to do more of that by buying in back up. Remember that working outside of your comfort areas will be much more tiring, and so the more you can focus your time on doing stuff you love, the more efficient you’ll be. Virtual Assistants, accountants, tech support, or even house cleaners can all buy you much needed time and space to develop your business.
  3. Be clear about your own vision & don’t get distracted.  It’s tempting to shape your business to the work that’s available, rather than the work you want.  Although small businesses would be mad to turn down work, don’t be distracted from your original vision.  Hold on to a sense of your original vision, and choose to steer your business towards that when you get the opportunity.  Why not schedule an ‘annual review’ with yourself, or a trusted friend or business coach, to check that you’re still on track and plan where you want the future to take you?
  4. Don’t get lonely. Take opportunities to get out and talk to people… it’s good for your mental health, and also good for your business development.  Don’t be the microbiz equivalent of the mad old lady with her cats!  Check out business networking events, or ‘home working’ clubs in your area.
  5. Be confident & Sell yourself.  Don’t be too modest, or apologetic about your success. (My current personal challenge is to stop telling people I don’t have a ‘real job’ but instead say that I’ve started my own successful company!) Be very clear at what you’re good at, work as hard as you can to make sure your service is excellent, and don’t be afraid to sell it!

What do you think?

How do you get to know more about yourself in your business? Please let me know in the comments below.

Book Club:  Ulrich & Ulrich, The Why of Work

Want to expand on the ideas raised in this article? This fantastic book will help…

This is a super, hugely practical book gets to the heart of motivation.  Specifically dealing with the issues of how you can work out what motivates you and build your success around that.  The key principle is one of ‘abundance’.  I love that phrase because it so neatly sums up what can be achieved when the work you do is the work you love.  For companies and teams too, Ulrich has advice on how to become and ‘abundant organisation’; a place where people want to be and love to give their best.

The text includes some really interesting ‘audit’ questionnaires to help you work through the issues, and access to loads of useful material on line.

Buy from Amazon

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Take time to reflect… on what makes you unique, what you love, what motivates you.  Think carefully about how you can make more space to express that passion in your business.

Clair Fisher

Clair Fisher specialises in developing effective leaders, high performing teams, and productive partnerships. Clair is a lecturer at the Brighton Business School, is a fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and a reviewer for Evidence & Policy Journal. Clair has trained as an ILM executive coach and has recently launched Microbiz coaching in Horsham, Sussex.