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The 4 Pillars of Running a Small Business

And a Happy New Year to you!

Up until recently, whenever I’d think of myself as a small business owner, I’d quote the late, greatly befuddled Vice Presidential candidate, Admiral Stockdale, who famously said during the 1992 Vice Presidential debate, “Who am I? Why am I here?”  

It was sort of an act and a good one by the Admiral, but it was how I actually felt as a business owner. Between us chickens, I still feel imposter syndrome to a degree, though I’m shedding it more and more. 

What helped was when I actually answered the questions.

“Who am I?” I’m the owner of a writing and marketing business. The second answer took time because getting off the ground does, and as far as growth goes, I thought it happened in spite of myself and because of luck. 

“Why am I here?” This took a little more time to answer, because I had to experience growth first. I’m here because of networking, marketing, asking for help, and showing up. 

These are the four pillars of running a small business.

🏛️1. Networking

I’ve written a blog post or four about networking that you can read here, here, here, and here.

For me, it’s pretty simple: the more I network the more I build my business. At its core, networking is about building relationships which opens the door to:
  • Finding new customers
  • Creating new friendships
  • Gaining new skills and knowledge
  • Building your brand
  • Seeking service and volunteer opportunities
It’s critical to choose the right organization. Being in the right place means surrounding yourself with people of great influence who are mentors, givers, and referral sources. I’ve found homes at my local chamber of commerce and a business organization called the American Club Association. Hey, it’s my blog, and I’ll shill if I want to, shill if I want to…you would shill, too, if it happened to you. Da da da da da.

🏛️2. Marketing

You have to have a marketing strategy. 

Part of mine is my company blog. By reading this, you are helping me with my marketing. Thank you. 

Whether it's through social media, paid advertising, or networking with other local businesses, it's crucial for small business owners to find ways to market their products or services to potential customers.

I mentioned building your brand earlier, and that is the essence of marketing. When you have established a business identity, people think of you first when they require the services you offer.

🏛️3. Asking For Help

In addition to advertising cigarettes to young people, Marlboro celebrated its mascot, The Marlboro Man, as a rugged individualist who only needed himself and a smoke to get by in life, support from others be damned!  

At least four Marlboro Men have died from smoking-related diseases. The lessons here are that loneliness and smoking are bad for you, and as the poet, John Donne wrote, “No man is an island.”

Let’s change that to “No business owner is an island.” 

You need to know when to ask for help if you’re going to run a successful small business. Without leveraging resources, coaching, systemization, and process-optimization, you’ll burn out, so-to-speak.

🏛️4. Showing Up

This has a literal and figurative meaning. 

To show up is to be present at networking events both in-person and online. It’s serving on committees, boards, and attending ribbon cuttings for local businesses. When people are constantly seeing you, you become a fixture, and you stay top-of-mind. 

To show up is to check in with your clients, reach out to people in your network to reinforce that you’re thinking about them, and to offer help to those you know well and those you just met. 

When you show up, you often find yourself in the right place at the right time. 

Embrace the grind, learn from your mistakes, celebrate the wins, and enjoy the ride.

About the Author, David Telisman

I am a Writer and Content Creator, and I work with businesses to inspire their customers to buy from them. I believe that my clients deserve to feel proud of how their content marketing looks and what it says, and I deliver by providing expert copywriting and marketing solutions.

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