As I write this, in the UK we are approaching the Spring Bank Holiday which coincides this year with the 75th anniversary of VE Day. This is a time to be thoughtful. To pause and reflect.
I started my business in April 2010. It seems hard to believe that it’s been ten years since I left behind a twenty year career in a UK blue chip organization to start up a therapy consultancy business. Nearly half of small businesses fail in the first five years alone.
As I sit here and reflect on my journey, these are the key things I have learnt as a female business owner:
The ability to bounce back and to learn how to cope when facing setbacks and difficulties. There was no business training for “therapists” ten years ago. I had to try out different approaches to market my business and become recognized.
If you believe you have a good idea/product/service then you must persevere when the going gets tough. Success is not achieved overnight. It takes effort. LOTS!
- Learning from mistakes
You only get better in life by making mistakes, learning from experiences and moving on. Don’t dwell on the negative but turn the experience into a positive. What can you take from the situation to improve what you do?
- Learning when to say “No”
I learnt early on that trying to meet everyone’s expectations can lead to exhaustion. And no enjoyment. As females there is a tendency to want to please and avoid conflict. I love this Warren Buffet quote; ” We need to learn the slow ‘yes’ and the quick ‘no’”.
- Keep showing up
I always respond to enquiries within the day. Even on holiday. I would have to be completely off wi-fi for this not to happen. It may only be a quick acknowledgement – but I SHOW UP. I give a firm timescale. And I say if I am or I am not interested. See above: it is fine to say ‘no’.
- Create Structure to your day/your week
When is your best thinking time? When are you most productive? When is your down time? Do you work best with noise (in a café) or the peace and quiet of home or library?
I am most definitely a morning person. If I have tasks to be achieved I may get up at 5am. I am more productive in the early hours than late in the day.
- Reflect Reflect Reflect
Of course strategy is important. Where do you want to be in 1/3/5 years? How do you intend to achieve it? Make plans. But always be prepared and accept that your initial goals may change. I am constantly reflecting on what is working well. Am I being true to my values? Do I still love what I do? If not it’s time to change.
- Trust your gut
This is completely logical to me as I specialise in gut and digestive health issues. The gut’s enteric nervous system is known as the second brain and there is a two way conversation between the gut and brain via the vagus nerve.  By connecting with our intuition it enables us to draw on our life’s experiences and not just focus on logic.
- Recognise your worth
I have more than five years training under my belt (in more than one discipline) and ten year’s experience. There is a tendency in the therapy business to charge an hourly rate. But I’m delivering value based on my expertise, knowledge and empirical evidence. And the results can be truly life changing for people. What is your worth? Never underestimate your value.
- Specialise don’t generalize
This is most definitely relevant as a therapist.Know your market. Who is your audience? What is your specialism? Be an expert and know it inside out. Become recognized as a leader in your field. Stand out from the crowd.
Sustaining a business for ten years takes more than just commitment and effort. Take a step back from your business and consider one thing you could start doing differently today.
*Caroline Peyton is an experienced naturopath with more than a decade of experience. She runs clinics in Wiltshire and the Cotswolds in the UK and can offer online consultations globally under her brand Peyton Principles. She specialises in nutritional therapy, gut and digestive issues as well as wellbeing in the workplace. For more information visit https://www.peytonprinciples.com/naturopathic-nutritional-therapy/