“Business is Great!” – Why attitude is everything

You may have heard that you manifest what you accept as true – think negative thoughts and sure enough, your day sucks. And that goes for entrepreneurship too. It’s so easy to blame a lack of customers, the economy, employees and everyone else for our challenges. Have you noticed how you can get a real gripe-fest going by sharing your frustrations with as many people as you can? Like magic, you can bring everyone else around you down in your quest to be heard.

Attitude is everything

There’s a story we’ve heard throughout the years that we really like. Why not take a page from this man’s book:

The owner of a small landscaping and garden business wore a button every day that said: Business is Great! His company thrived, even during a recession. He smiled, chatted with his customers and his employees were always friendly and helpful. Whenever someone asked him about the button, he’d tell them the fact that he lived in a country where he was able to start and operate a business was amazing. He’d say how fortunate he felt at being able to do what he loved. He talked about having the chance to employ other people and help them grow. Most of all, he shared how great he felt helping homeowners solve their gardening and landscaping problems.

People were skeptical. There must be something he wasn’t telling them. Times were tough. People were being laid off. No one seemed to have any money for extras. Yet this man’s small garden business was always busy and he prospered. His employees were happy and there was a feel-good sense about his business. And without fail, there he was every day – smiling and wearing his Business is Great! button.

One day, he shared his secret to a particularly frustrated business owner who wanted to argue that business wasn’t great. He was about to close down his own shop because his customers were cutting back orders, his employees were unmotivated and nobody was buying anything. The landscaper listened to him rant, then smiled, leaned over the counter and said: “The button came first, the business followed.”

Decide today that being in business is great

Yup, it’s hard work, but no one said starting a small business would be easy. Stick with it, put a smile on your face and get out there. Remember why you started your small business in the first place and work every day to feel the love. Entrepreneurs are nothing if not tenacious!

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Are you recording your entrepreneurship memories? Will you be ready when Oprah calls?

The other day, I was telling a friend about the early technology issues we had streaming our HD video education for entrepreneurs into rural parts of the country.  I jokingly referred to that period in GoForth Institute history as Chapter 3 of my memoirs – The Rural Disaster. Of course, the technology issues are a distant memory, but I remember at the time clearly believing this was the end of my company.

My friend asked if I was serious about some day writing about my journey into entrepreneurship and the building of a national company. “Nah, every entrepreneur who builds a successful company has a story to tell.  Mine isn’t special,” was my quick answer.  She challenged me on this, saying that other entrepreneurs would benefit from learning about the many challenges we faced at the beginning and how we overcame every one of them.

Sometimes it’s hard to relive the bad decisions, stupid mistakes and strategic oversights that are part of building a new company from scratch.  The last thing I want to do is publish a book about our journey – parts of it are painful.

But then, what if I could save even one entrepreneur from making the same mistakes – wouldn’t it be worth it?  You bet it would.

A few weeks ago I spent a wonderful day with Aboriginal youth entrepreneurs at the CANDO Aboriginal Youth Business Dreamcatcher Program in Edmonton, and took part in the opening celebration which involved an elder sharing stories of his life – the hardships of residential school, challenges of living in the traditional and western worlds, and his successes and failures. He wanted the youth to learn from his journey.

Each of us embarks on a journey when we start a business. If I could rewind back to the very beginning of GoForth, I would record some of the events in a journal – the highs, low and in-betweens. Mistakes and oversights can seem embarrassing at the time, but every entrepreneurial journey is rich with insight, experience and knowledge. Remember that when you feel as if someone up there is laughing at you. Prepare as if you’re going to get an invitation from Oprah to tell your story one day.

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