I have never been a fan of the label “small business”. Why? Because there is NOTHING SMALL about running your own business! I know, I know, it’s used to refer to the size of the business in terms of sales and employees; but I really prefer calling us “unique businesses”. In my own experience with Noe Valley Bakery, running a successful business is a 7-day-a-week job and it takes a team of dedicated employees working tirelessly and staying motivated to keep it successful. Even after 20 years, we all are fighting hard to stay fresh and interesting, and meet our customer’s needs. But this hard work falls especially on the shoulders of the main leader any business. In our case that is my husband Michael. He gets to work very early and stays really late to make sure that the quality of what we are serving is high. He never stops improving his recipes, training his employees and creating new systems. On top of that, he has to be the head customer service and sales person. His dedication, passion and hard work are what make Noe Valley Bakery great.
My amazing clients and their determination
As I work with my clients, I see this same theme over and over again. These dedicated business owners have to generate the fresh ideas and figure out how to best execute them. They need to be their own sales and marketing department, using technology to communicate with their target audience. They are their own human resources experts, needing to stay on top of complicated laws and challenging situations. They do research and development, trying out new products and services and finding out what their clients want to buy. They are CFO’s, entering in their sales and invoices in Quickbooks and trying to determine if they are profitable. They do their banking and payrolls, making sure that they keep it all straight. Then they need to figure out when and how much to invest back into the business. If they have employees they need to juggle complicated schedules and they need to do regular payrolls and file payroll tax returns – all of which are very time consuming. They need to be their own social media consultants, creating interesting visual content for their websites, blogs, and regular frequent social media posts…once I was told by a consultant, “you should tweet as often as you eat”…really?
If you aren’t tired by now just reading that list, then you are not paying attention. Unique business ownership is an incredibly hard job; and many times the owners are doing all of this in a vacuum, often managing alone. It can be a very isolating experience and one where you get a lot of advice from well meaning customers and strangers. If I had a dime for every time someone gave me advice that started with, “You know what you should do? You should…” I don’t even have time to finish my existing to-do list…how can I do anything else?
You don’t have to go it alone
This is my passion – supporting my clients so they don’t have to go it alone. They have me as a trusted partner to listen to their needs and create solutions to their problems. I give them a fresh perspective from outside their business that gives them a way of seeing new solutions. I encourage them and help them reach their goals by setting up regular meetings and tasks keep the work on track – sometimes all you need is an accountability partner to move mountains. My method starts with their financial statements because that tells me a specific part of their story. Then, when the financial piece is giving us regular, consistent knowledge, we use that to develop a plan of action. As someone told me today, “If you can measure it, you can manage it.” I think that is very well said.
Check out the different ways we can measure it and manage it together here.