Sometimes on Fridays, I write about what I feel like. Because I can. :^)
“Hey, how’s business?” people ask me.
How I feel about this question is probably what every high school senior feels when they’re asked “So what are you doing next year?”
I get that the question is coming from a good place and that people are just curious and wanting me to succeed but when you hear something that often (and maybe secretly wonder what the ‘right’ answer is), you kind of dread it.
Here’s the truth, and I think it’s probably the truth for most small business owners.
Business is fine. Even if it wasn’t, I couldn’t tell you for one or all of the following reasons:
1) It’s depressing if things aren’t going well. (And I will tell you every business does have its bad months, no matter what we all say publicly.)
2) No one wants to hire a ‘failure’. Kind of like how desperate people can’t get a date, I’m not ever wanting to come off as desperate for work.
3) As the business owner, more than anything, I need to believe things are going to be fine if I am going to get up every morning and do this. I’m saying things are fine to myself as much as I am to you.
But regardless of the answer to the question ‘How’s business?’ you have to keep getting out there and being visible. Doing it when things are going awesome as well as when things are not is really important because people need to remember you exist. Whether it’s online marketing or old school in person networking events, you have to keep being in the ‘community’ of your potential clients. (You know those Business After Hours that Chamber of Commerce’s have where you get to schmooze and have wine and cheese? I LOVE those. In case you don’t love them, here’s how to schmooze.)
And if getting online is your networking tool, be out there. Try taking part in a Twitter chat once a week or answer 5 questions a week posted in your LinkedIn group. The key is to be able to quantify the interactions, otherwise you won’t be able to keep yourself honest.
And finally, other than having to say things are fine and having to network to remind people you exist, it’s important to know that it’s ok to have a quick cry at your desk. I certainly do and don’t feel at all emotionally unstable for it. If I didn’t feel anything, it would mean I didn’t care about my work and it’s a good release. Any small business owner that says otherwise is either lying or may have some alternate release like going to the shooting range or screaming in their soundproof room.
So when you ask me ‘How’s business?’ I’m going to say ‘Fine.’ Because one way or the other, it will be.