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4 elements I've quickly learned in starting my small business.

As I began my journey/leap/insanity/jump from the corporate world into my own small, local business I had no idea what I was getting myself into. As I charted my course down the path of self employment a few key elements have quickly become apparent, 

The biggest thing I think most don't realize is that as an owner/CEO/President etc of your own company - you become the master of, as one of my former CEO's told me, spinning plates. There are so many things in the air at any given time when you begin that it seems impossible at first to make them all work. 

Now, with that in mind, about 8 years ago, that same CEO, gave me advice that I needed to work on my plate spinning abilities. Since then, I challenged myself to work on it but nothing challenges those skills more than starting your own business.

So the question became, how do you win and ensure no plates fall - and if they do how do you pick them back up? I've realized a few key elements to help me through a time like this - elements I think anyone could benefit from,

1. Find the right business contacts. From bankers, suppliers, customers, friends, family, your network and even your competition. It's incredible what can happen when you focus on who you want in your business. Set your standards and find those who fit them, those who will work for you to help you win, I've discovered so much in the business world just by being clear about my mission and goals and specifically seeking those businesses. I've even found competitors in my market that are open to establishing relationships and talk shop - seek these out. Co-opetitioin is the way I see it and I've been surprised at how many businesses are open to this.

2. Have absolute faith in your vision. Know what you want, how you want it and how your business will succeed. Remember, there will always be competition in your market, so don't try to be like them. Be true to your vision, don't let the nay-sayers sway you a direction that doesn't align with your gut. I've stayed absolute about my vision and it's exhilarating to know you are being true to yourself and your vision for your business. Customers sense it, your friends believe in it and your competition definitely sees it and it leaves them scrambling.

3. Be positive. In a world where many things will come your way to create a negative thought, it's imperative, no matter what is going on in your life, your business or your industry - you must stay positive. Negative clouds the vision, creates an energy to stop your progress and can lead directly to failure. Keeping a positive light, even towards the negative situations enables you to find the positive even in the darkest of situations, One key element that has always kept me going is asking "What can I learn from this? Is there opportunity here?"

4. Never stop. Wow, if there is one statement that stands out as the biggest contributor to success its this one. I once saw a poster that said "Entrepreneurship; working 100 hours a week for yourself so you don't have to work 40 for someone else" So true! To win, succeed, realize your vision you must work hard, never stop, keep driving even when you're tired, weak, hungry etc. Keep driving for the win and never, ever stop. 

It's been a short run so far with about 3 months of me making a jump into my own business and as terrified as I was about the "uncertainty' and fear of not knowing what I am doing, I've quickly realized there are key elements to help anyone succeed. So if you are on the fence, want to talk about starting a small business or pick my brain on anything I'm all ears. 

Take the leap - it's worth every moment,

Brad McRae