I'm not going to quote you any depressing statistics on how many small businesses fold within their first year. Even if every researcher agreed on the numbers -- even if the figures were as high as 99 percent, or as low as 1 percent -- it wouldn't matter. You care about your business, not about 400,000 theoretical strangers who may or may not be filing tax returns under the same business name next April. If people are standing in line for your services, you're too busy to think about the rest of the economy. If no one seems interested in hiring you -- it doesn't help to know how many others earn several thousand dollars a week. What would make you feel better is a surefire formula for gaining boatloads of new clients. I'm afraid I can't offer you that. But I can suggest a few things that might need changing. 1. You Don't Believe in What You're Selling If you pitch writing services because "active blogs bring in business," but haven't added a post to your own blog in a year -- you don't believe in what you're selling. If you sell dress suits and go about in jeans -- you don't believe in what you're selling. And if you hire employees who continue to patronize your competition -- they don't believe in what you're selling, and neither do you. If you really believe you're offering a product or service everyone needs, you -- and your whole office -- are part of that "everyone." If your actions say that what you offer is optional at best, prospects will take your "word" for that. 2. You're Looking for Step-by-Step Instructions Of course, there are certain principles (and laws) that apply to every small business. Of course, there's plenty to be learned from those who have already succeeded. But if you think that following the exact procedure detailed in some rich entrepreneur's autobiography will guarantee you the same amount of money they made, in the same amount of time -- you're headed for disappointment. You're not a clone of that entrepreneur; your product isn't a clone of theirs, nor is your ideal client. Nor is the way your personality will "take" to their procedure. If you aren't willing to let your own uniqueness shape the growth of your business, you don't trust your own ability -- and neither will your prospects. 3. You're a Blame-Caster The moment you start complaining that no one succeeds in this economy, or no one wants the good stuff over the cheap, or the odds are rigged against your gender/ethnic group/background -- you might as well take down your business license, because you've given up anyway. Successful entrepreneurs don't know the meaning of "pity party"; they do know the meaning of "stick-to-itiveness" and "self-confidence."
You've probably noticed that all of the above are related to believing in yourself -- and not as someone who deserves charity or special privilege. Whatever type of business you're in, much of what you're selling is you. If you answer the phone with a snarl; if you look down and mumble during interviews; if you don't show up for your appointments -- no one will hire you while any alternative is available. Unless you believe in yourself as a capable and generous human being who can offer exceptional service -- and who recognizes that everyone deserves exceptional service -- it'll show, and potential clients will size you up as a bad risk. Don't kid yourself, people do choose their providers for personality. Believe in yourself so others will!