It can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to growing your small business. You may feel overwhelmed by all of the options available to you, or uncertain about how to take the first steps toward success.
Making progress in your small business can feel like an uphill battle at times. There are so many things that stand in your way, from financial troubles to a lack of confidence. But the good news is that with the right guidance and mindset, you can learn to take control of your success as a small business owner in 2023.
In this blog post, we’ll be looking at 13 key ways you can break through common small business hurdles and start making moves toward seizing success. Get ready to find out how you can make this year your biggest one yet!
Recognizing Small Business Mentality
A small business mentality is an unhealthy outlook that exists among many entrepreneurs and small business owners. It can take on a variety of forms but generally involves a defeatist attitude, assuming failure or denying potential opportunities.
Negativity in this context often translates into a widely-held belief among small business owners that they will never be able to compete with larger companies in the same space, which leads to a lack of motivation and ambition.
When one has a negative outlook on their business—seeing failure as inevitable or viewing their industry competitors with envy—it’s difficult to make progress.
This type of mindset often comes from a lack of confidence in yourself as a small business owner, your team, your product or service, and your ability to succeed.
13 Ways to Overcome Small Business Mentality
Starting and running a small business can be difficult, and unfortunately, negative thinking gets in the way of many entrepreneurs claiming success. Expecting failure and having no confidence in yourself as a small business owner can be debilitating, consequently stifling any chance at producing profitable results.
Thankfully, steps can be taken to avoid allowing negative thoughts or feelings to deter long-term growth objectives. Here are the top ways to become a successful small business owner this 2023:
1. Developing a Holistic Vision and Business Plan
Developing a holistic vision and business plan is essential for any small business owner to escape the small business mindset.
A holistic vision puts into perspective not only the present but also the future and allows entrepreneurs to clearly understand their objectives and how they can achieve them. It helps develop strategies for maintaining relevance in an ever-changing economic landscape.
A comprehensive business plan builds a pathway for the small business owner to take steps toward achieving these objectives and expands upon current goals by providing achievable short-term milestones.
It is these small successes that breed confidence in an entrepreneur’s capabilities and provide motivation to work endlessly towards reaching their long-term ambitions.
When paired together, this combination of vision and planning often leads to big accomplishments for even the smallest of businesses.
2. Seeking Mentorship & Support
When running a small business, having the right attitude is essential to success. One key component of creating the right mindset is seeking mentorship and support from experienced professionals and peers who can offer practical advice and industry knowledge.
Mentors can enable you to look at your business with fresh eyes, help you develop a strategic plan of action based on their own experiences, and provide moral support during periods of difficulty or growth.
With quality guidance and feedback from mentors, entrepreneurs are better equipped to combat any self-doubt they may have regarding the limitations that come with owning a small business.
Not only will mentorship help a small business owner build stronger foundations for ventures, but it may also foster an increased sense of confidence in abilities as well as inspire to reach higher goals.
Taking these proactive measures to acquire mentorship and other kinds of support will lead to more positive outcomes for small businesses in the future.
3. Leveraging Technology for Maximum Efficiency
Technology can be a great asset for small businesses that are looking to become more efficient. By leveraging technology, small business owners can enable themselves to compete with larger corporations and gain access to the same resources as them.
Technology can automate tedious and complicated tasks that would otherwise require additional staff.
Additionally, it can facilitate multiple levels of communication and collaboration by creating connected workspaces designed specifically for their business needs.
With the implementation of technology, small business owners will also have greater visibility into the metrics of their organization, allowing them to make better-informed decisions about how to allocate resources, optimize strategies and remain competitive in their respective markets.
4. Pursuing Strategic Partnerships and Alliances
Pursuing strategic partnerships and alliances is an invaluable tool for small businesses looking to overcome the limitations of their size. By joining forces with those in a complementary industry, both sides benefit from expanded knowledge, experience, and resources.
Companies that are successful in this endeavor have a greater edge over competitors, allowing them to expand into untapped markets with new ideas and greater efficiency.
Through these arrangements, small businesses gain access to powerful connections instead of getting lost in the shuffle among larger firms.
Collaborations like these also help build trust and lasting relationships, enriching each party involved.
5. Building an Effective Network for Support and Resources
Building an effective network of support and resources is critical when it comes to growing your small business. Taking the time to connect with the right people and nurture relationships gives you access to valuable advice, expertise, and knowledge that can help kickstart small business success.
With mentors, advisers, and knowledgeable local businesses within reach, entrepreneurs can gain insight into strategic management while having a stronger chance of navigating their way through economic turbulence.
A successful business needs insight from experienced people who have a deeper understanding of their industry, potential markets, and other relevant information to guide decision-making.
An effective network consists of mentors, partners, vendors, and customers that can help provide solutions or new ideas when faced with a challenge or opportunity.
When used correctly, this network of individuals can help businesses break away from the traditional small business mentality by challenging routine processes and introducing more efficient ones which will lead to increased growth and stability.
6. Investing in Employee Education and Development
Investing in employee education and development is an important step for small business owners looking to move away from a narrowly focused “small business” mentality.
Employees who are properly educated and trained in their job duties are better equipped to leverage their skills and knowledge to create an innovative and successful business model while remaining competitive in the marketplace.
Additionally, providing employees with educational opportunities can increase morale, foster loyalty to the company, and facilitate collaboration across departments.
When businesses invest in employee education, they create an environment where ideas can be shared openly, leading to new innovations, new solutions, and a strong culture.
A workplace filled with educated and motivated employees is essential for any organization hoping to stay competitive and excel beyond the limitations that come with a small business classification.
7. Finding Time for Reflection and Self-Care
When running your own small business, it can be easy to fall into a tunnel-vision mentality. The everyday tasks and obligations can become so all-consuming that it becomes difficult to take the time necessary for self-care and reflection.
However, carving out this time is vitally important in helping both yourself and your business grow and succeed.
Reflection allows our minds to create distance from the hustle and bustle of every day, allowing fresh perspectives to form on how best to tackle challenges, increase efficiency or pursue new opportunities.
Likewise, practicing self-care prevents burnout by allowing us the chance to relax, recharge and enjoy ourselves.
Integrating these strategies into our routines helps us to not only overcome the tunnel vision mentality but also leads us towards healthier habits for life.
8. Utilizing Social Media Platforms for Promotion & Advertising
As small businesses try to compete with large companies, social media platforms can be valuable tools for promotion and advertising.
The platforms allow business owners to connect directly with a wide range of potential customers and create brand awareness for an audience that may have been previously out of reach.
With the ability to effectively target audiences by age, gender, interests, and location, these platforms offer an incredible opportunity for small businesses to level the playing field as they make their own name in the market.
Furthermore, businesses don’t need a high marketing budget to use social media – they just need creative ideas and dedication. Social media can be put to powerful use if done right.
Such stands true for individual entrepreneurs trying to build up their online presence, or even those trying to promote their start-up company – it can do wonders when utilized effectively.
9. Staying Up-to-Date on Trends & Changes in Your Industry
All businesses, whether small or large, are sometimes guilty of getting stuck in a certain mentality due to a lack of knowledge about industry trends and changes.
By staying up-to-date in the industry, small business owners can gain valuable insights that can help them think outside the box, be more creative and take calculated risks to push their business forward.
Keeping tabs on the latest technology offered by competitors is one great way to stay ahead of the game and get fresh ideas that may have been previously overlooked.
In such a competitive landscape, knowledge is power; by studying and understanding market movements, your small business can create a foothold for itself rather than being left behind.
Knowing where profits are better made, or which product lines have been recently updated, is what allows smaller players in the market to challenge larger corporations.
By equipping oneself with real-time insights that one may not have access to, any size of the business has an equal chance in the game. Following trends and picking up on fluctuations early gives smaller businesses key advantages that are essential when it comes to survival.
10. Going Beyond Traditional Sales Models and Marketing Practices
For small business owners, taking a creative approach to sales and marketing is an integral part of overcoming the small business mentality.
Traditional sales and marketing practices often fail to capture the attention of potential customers, leading to missed opportunities.
Utilizing new technology and methods of communication allow companies to reach wider markets, better engage with customers, and maintain an edge over their competitors.
Embracing untapped potential may require an initial investment for you as a small business owner—for example, using online ads instead of print or radio ads—but can result in higher profits and greater success as a business.
Furthermore, by breaking away from conventional approaches, businesses become open to change and curiosity—allowing them to think on a larger scale and make decisions with the long-term growth of their organization in mind.
11. Maintaining Innovation & Creativity Despite Challenges
Small businesses often struggle to think outside the box, which can limit organizational growth and lead to stagnation. Maintaining innovation and creativity despite challenges is a key factor in helping small businesses combat this mentality.
By actively pushing for creativity and innovation within their organization, small business owners can give themselves a greater range of both potential solutions and opportunities.
This opens up new possibilities for small business success, as well as a way for owners to differentiate their approach from the competition.
Ultimately, bridging the gap between small business mentality and modern innovation will help organizations challenge themselves to create something unique that stands out from the rest.
12. Leverage Technology and Automation
Small businesses can easily become overwhelmed by the increasingly complex needs of their growing customer base and competitors in the marketplace.
Automating tasks such as inventory management, customer service, marketing, payment processing, data analysis and more can help streamline operations while also offering opportunities to diversify products or services.
By adopting efficient business techniques through technological advancement, small business owners can redefine what it means to be a small business in today’s world.
Furthermore, leveraging technology allows small businesses to quickly adapt to an ever-changing environment, giving them an edge over other local companies that may not be as tech-savvy.
When used properly, technology and automation enable small businesses the ability to tap into new markets and build a larger presence in their respective industries.
13. Focus on Customer Satisfaction
In today’s highly competitive business landscape, achieving customer satisfaction is paramount for small businesses. As a small business owner, the effort of outworking their large industry competitors can often be daunting and overwhelming.
Focusing on customer satisfaction is a key way in which other small business owners can set themselves apart from the competition, allowing them to create an immediate advantage.
By carefully listening to your customers’ needs and delivering excellent service, you can build strong relationships that enable them to grow and develop into a more successful operation.
Not only does this help bring in additional revenue by expanding your reach beyond traditional markets, but it helps foster a culture of loyalty among your customer base.
Starting and growing a small business provides people with the potential to make their own future, but too often small businesses fail due to a mentality that limits growth. To break this cycle and succeed, it is important to think beyond the scope of a small business and aim for larger goals. Here are the top questions about small business mentality:
Celebrating Yourself as an Entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur is challenging, yet immensely rewarding. Making the shift from having a small business mentality to celebrating yourself as an entrepreneur involves embracing and taking pride in the unique skills and abilities that you bring to the table.
It also means being confident in your decisions and trusting your instincts when it comes to problem-solving. Most importantly, it requires permitting yourself to tap into your greatest potential for small business success and going after opportunities that will challenge and empower you to reach even greater heights.
Changing how you view success is essential for any entrepreneur, allowing them to view their goals with a personal lens of euphoria rather than one of mere financial gain or recognition. Ultimately, celebrating yourself as an entrepreneur brings out the courage within – allowing you to take risks and explore pursuits without hesitation or fear of failure.
Brian Shelton is an entrepreneur, marketer, and life-long learner committed to helping businesses achieve impactful results. He founded Grow Predictably to provide tailored marketing strategies to generate predictable, profitable growth. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Brian has helped businesses, large and small. reach their goals and drive positive change in the world.