Have you ever had an idea for a small business and thought, where on earth should I begin?! If so, you’ve likely had overwhelming thoughts about spreadsheets, accountants and tax consultants, whether or not to hire outside consultants to step in, or to hire within, or more likely you’ve thought to yourself: wow, this is going to be a lot for me to take on all by myself until I can afford to hire someone.
Don’t panic! We have all been there, and lucky for you, here at SUNTEX we have learned a few tricks of the trade on how best to solve these problems, before you throw your hands in the air, ready to give up before you ever even begin.
I’m reminded of an old adage that a former colleague shared with me once, that proved to be very useful in quelling those anxious thoughts about what comes next – it goes like this:
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
Of course, I would never actually eat an elephant, but as the following YouTube video explains, this saying is all about problem solving through means of setting one small, achievable goal at a time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZpAYmUpx44.
Another familiar and helpful saying I have had personal experience with which deals with this type of problem solving is: “Little by little”, or “Poco a poco.”
When I lived in Guatemala a few years ago – working in the health industry and attempting multiple USAID development projects at once – initially I thought I would drown in work. First I needed to find people willing to work with me, then train them in becoming health experts themselves, then perform an epidemiology report for the local health post of the town we were in (including participation from at least 10% of the total population), and finally implement USAID health projects geared towards addressing the most dire health concerns in the community, with the neediest of people.
Often, when I was feeling overwhelmed by it all – especially considering the emotional toll this work took on me and my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers daily – Guatemalans would tell me to slow down, and take things “poco a poco.”
Wouldn’t you know it, by the end of my service in just two years, I had trained 35 new Public Health Leaders in Basic Sanitation and Disease Prevention, we built 45 wood-burning stoves and supplied enough concrete for about 50 homes to add concrete floors in their kitchens (addressing public health concerns such as chronic pneumonia and poor sanitation in the kitchen). It’s safe to say that this process worked, as our testimony demonstrated, and I am so grateful to the Guatemalan people for teaching me this first-hand.
As a small business ourselves, we understand the difficulties sometimes associated with making headway on new initiatives or balancing priorities, and we’re here to help! After all, one thing that I think all businesses, no matter how big or small, can benefit from is the power of shared knowledge.
This week, we’ll hear from a few other sources on the Do’s and Don’ts of small business ownership, and how you can manage your workload as you navigate this tricky endeavor. So that you aren’t just taking our word for it, we’ll feature blog posts from others such as XX and YY. So be sure to check it out! You won’t want to miss it.
As always, if you have suggestions to add to this week’s topic yourself, be sure to post them in the comments section below – we love to engage with our audience and the more comments, the merrier.