All business owners like to believe that their business is in someway unique or unlike any other business. At its core though, how different are small businesses really? Nearly all small businesses struggle with relatively similar issues. Most owners wear multiple hats and have had to become jack of all trades in order to succeed and survive in the business world. While it is important to recognize the differences between various small businesses it is equally important to recognize the similarities.
Small businesses often struggle with the same issues, and while its important to establish your own policies, do not be afraid to talk to and learn from other small business owners.
The best way to meet other small business owners is to join the local Chamber of Commerce, Industry Organization or Trade Association. However, joining is not enough, you must participate in events, newsgroups and meetings. You will not learn through osmosis! Trade associations, newsgroups and social business functions are great places to learn from the experience of other small business owners. Engage other business owners and share the lessons that you have learned.
Small Business owners should make an effort to learn from both the successes and failures from other small business owners. If you encounter someone who has not succeeded, do not assume that there is nothing to learn, nothing could be further from the truth. Often you can learn just as much about what not to do, from a failed business ventures, as what to do from a successful business.
While it is important to learn from others it is also important that you do not allow, the experience of others to dictate all of your business making decisions. While the information gleaned from talking to other small business owners might help shape decisions and influence them, it should not be the end all be all.
Do not assume that just because something worked for someone else that it will work for you. Just because ABC Landscaping had a great return on investment for their advertising campaign in the local newspaper does not mean that a ABC Travel, with tours in France will have equal success advertising using the same medium.
In the same regard when discussing ideas with other business owners consider the source of the information. Does the owner have a thriving business or is it struggling to make ends meet. Every piece of information gleaned in discussions related small businesses discussions should be weighed an important factor to consider is the source and credibility of the information.
Owning a small business can be a fulfilling but also a potentially lonely proposition. There is no need to be isolated. Reachout to others that have faced similar issues and struggles. Use the experience of other small business owners to guide your decision making. With a little luck your business will thrive.