Do you remember the movie Cast Away that was released in the year 2000 with Tom Hanks? It’s a story of survival of one man who found himself alone on an island. Something like how small business owners feel themselves.

Do you ever feel alone in your business? Many business owners say they do. Sure, there may be plenty of people around you but you are the one watching the business and  making the decisions; just you, alone.  But I didn’t write this article just to remind you of the weight on your shoulders as a business owner. I thought I’d share something that might help from my line of work where I hear both the issues and the successes from my clients. These are few of the top tips business owners have shared which make running a business easier, more fun and more productive.

1. Build a support network. Don’t be isolated and making decisions in the dark. Join with other business owners in monthly meetings to share ideas and even vent frustrations. It clears the mind. Business coaches can be a huge asset to your business and personal life.

2. Have specific goals. Take those big ideas and break them down into achievable tasks; then get to it, one step at a time. If you know you need 100 new sales, then go for the first 1 or first 10. You can reevaluate the results easier on a few focused transactions then on a bunch of random happenings. A transaction can be a sale, a purchase of goods, a new plan on how to assemble a product or new HR regs. Anything that ill be repeated is a “transaction”.

3. Encourage Feedback. Another pair of eyes on the target is invaluable. You can be stimulated by other ideas, even weird ideas can have a core of value in them. It can be energizing and fun, plus you might be able to mentor someone up to greater success. Even be your successor? Who knows, you might be toying with selling your business now; or you certainly will, some day.

4. Find the best niche. The result of the above will be your ability to focus in on what you and your business do best and then stay with it.

5. Simplify.  This is a twofold concept. First is simplify your business otherwise know as being efficient. Getting rid of dead weight, as hard as that may be. The second is simplify your life. That may eb no more than taking time off regularly to have fun with friends and family or just get away and relax.  I know some intensely successful people who still go fishing and enjoy the outdoors. And, don’t forget some spiritual refreshment; it can be life changing.

And did I mention, “Working with a Business Advisor?” Although I didn’t say it specifically, it’s implied in this message, with these tips from my clients who were working with myself after all. So, if you’re not consulting with our team then you should really tap into the knowledge we’ve accumulated from working with all types of business owners, in all manner of situations, in all sorts of industries. We don’t just sell your business, we help you carve out the rough edges and repair the cracks so that when the day comes that you are ready to sell, your potential buyers are looking at a masterpiece instead of a remnant.

John Young is a Broker/Investment Banker with Sunbelt Business Advisors. He can be reached at (408) 436-1900, ext. 103 or [email protected]