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Accepting Knowledge Instead of Defeat with Your New Business

 
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Imagine having the perfect name for your new business along with a possible million-dollar idea. You finally get around to researching this idea only to find other competitors in the same industry who have more followers, better-looking models, and a professional looking presence. Intimidation immediately sinks as you realize you are just a small fish in a very large sea, afraid of being attacked by the larger sharks. I get it. I see it. I’ve even been there. Media-hungry sharks exist in the form of bigger and better people who live the life you deem comfortable. The trick is to swim through that first school of sharks with an open mind. Absorb their tricks of the trade, soak in their branding literature, and reach out an open fin... I mean hand (okay, I’m done with the shark analogy, I promise).  

Starting something new can be scary for a lot of people, even if it is a skill you are confident in. Maybe you’ve heard a few nightmare stories of small business owners or have been discouraged by the enormous amount of stress that success icons like Walt Disney or Steve Jobs had to endure to get to where they wanted to be. Instead of using those stories as a mental plateau, turn it into a take-away experience. Think of it as someone else already doing the legwork for you and now you can apply it in the appropriate way. You’re gaining knowledge from other professional failures to utilize and guide your new venture.

The most unrecognized and continuous theme here is the simple concept of collaboration. People don’t succeed simply because they are smarter or better at magical methods of growth. They learn to work from and with one another. They see what one person does and either eliminates or develops their own ideas that mirror their associates’. From my own experience, past managers and owners run their businesses with about 50% percent of what I envision to be successful (otherwise, I wouldn’t have worked there). The other 50% is what I currently strive to incorporate in my own graphic design agency - communication. For instance, the biggest attribute I offer to clients is being immensely communicative during the design process. I feel that their brand deserves all the details and my complete attention because I’ve unfortunately seen what the results look like from more reserved owners.

Without a doubt, the hardest part about collaborating is accepting new ideas, especially those that are contrary to the ones ingrained into your soul. Some new ideas might even seem counterintuitive toward your end goal. We have to remember that the main objective here is to use two or more brains to further your growth. As a creative who is naturally competitive, it took me a while to understand how to take criticism constructively. I will admit, some first draft design reviews from clients used to really affect me. Hours of work getting shut down in 5 minutes because they’re taking the whole “I don’t know what look I’m going for until I see it” approach. Regardless, even when I believed I was right, I’ve learned to take the back seat on majority of the comments. I will even spend an entire work day to reflect on what they are trying to convey, if needed. Then, I would respond with an approach that takes both myself and the client into consideration.

Now, in the case of a team collaboration, here are several examples I’ve learned that work best when trying to reach an end goal:

  1. Let other members finish their sentence - I deem this to be of the highest importance because there is nothing more rude or personally deflating than trying to bud in. Just wait your turn or you will cause instant mutiny.

  2. Leverage member strengths - Almost everyone has a weakness and that’s okay. Instead of dreading over the weakest link, find out what their strengths are and put them on that task. Finding their strength makes it easier to follow example 1.

  3. If you take lead, don’t micromanage - We all appreciate a good leader, but not one that is annoying the hell out of us. Understand your position with productive time management and encourage your team members without being a helicopter parent.

  4. SHOW APPRECIATION! - I feel like this is the easiest concept but the most unused unfortunately. The words “great job” literally take two seconds and can really help boost moral. Nowadays, it even takes place digitally. So NO EXCUSES!

  5. Using tools to your advantage - We now have digital tools like wrike or slack that turns organization and communication into an in-depth breeze (I use them both everyday in communication with my clients).  

I believe businesses fail when simple strategies like these aren’t being utilized at their foundation level. I also believe that finding growth beyond the foundation isn’t made for the weak-hearted. It doesn’t take a viking to get there, but accepting your competition is a great start. Everyone with a drive feels they can offer the best, but being open-minded  and learning from one another can help shift your company in the right direction.

If you’re in need for some free consultation on how to brand your new business professionally, feel free to contact me here. I’m happy to collaborate with your vision and make sure it stands out from leading competitors.