This year has definitely been one of change, challenge and adversity for business owners and employees alike. With the hardships for COVID-19, many have changed their entire outlook on employment — some out of choice and many out of necessity. One positive take-away from 2020 is that people have gotten extraordinarily creative where it comes to how they have pivoted their business models or created companies to serve a new need amid a pandemic. For those who are going into 2021 with the hope of changing their professional career paths, consider the following tips:
Be tenacious. They say opportunity knocks, but you have to be in the right place at the right time for business to just fall at your feet. Sitting back and waiting for business to come to you won’t do you any favors in the competitive world of business. You have to be willing to put in the work and get out there. We are very tenacious when it comes to marketing, and we’re always looking for the next deal — we go out and get business. As a business owner, you should always be on the lookout for the next deal.
Set your business apart. There is competition in every business, so you have to offer something that’s not already out there or present it in a different and better way to attract customers. Regardless of the industry, if you’re looking to start a new business or to grow your existing business, you need to figure out how to stand out from the competition. Whether that means catering to a very specific niche or excelling in customer service, you have to be different to get noticed.
Know when to make a change. As an employee who longs to start your own business or an entrepreneur who has “hit a wall” in your current business, you need to know when to keep pushing through and when it’s time to make a change. There are always going to be times when you get “stuck” along the path to building a business. In these situations, you have to ask yourself what else you can do to get to the next level. Hard decisions may have to be made, but a business owner or leader has to have the ability to do the hard things and not be afraid to take some risks. You should also never be afraid to seek ideas from others — whether that be employees, mentors or other trusted business owners.
Allow space for vision. When you’re eyeball deep in creating something, it can be hard to see the big picture. You need to take time away and get out of your business to work on it. That could mean taking a weekend getaway or building time into every day to do something outside the business that helps you clear your head. Work-life balance is very, very important. For me, staying diligent with a routine is important to my mental strength, which is so important for entrepreneurs who tend to be connected to their businesses 24/7.
As you’re working toward becoming a business owner, there will be times when you are overwhelmed. It’s helpful to build micro goals versus looking out too far ahead. Break tasks down into manageable chunks and, finally, surround yourself with mentors from different walks who can help you to gain a more well-rounded perspective.
Chad Nikkel is president and CEO of Aquaman Pools, LLC and AquaTouch Pool Purification System. He moved from the cold winters of Colorado to the Valley of the Sun and began researching the pool industry for a business opportunity. He purchased an existing pool service company and then began to instill his personal approach to the company, such as hiring very skilled technicians versus “pool guys” and seeking additional outlets to build his business, such as incorporating the AquaTouch Pool Purification System technology, a more efficient water-saving alternative to cleaning pool water. He views this extension of his business as doing the right thing for the world.
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