Small business owners (like yours truly) are in a unique position. Not only are we the owner of a small business, very often we ARE the small business. Personal and professional are the same. The dividing line between where your business stops and your personal life starts is hard to find (if it can be found at all). This also means that personal “stuff” will filter into your business, and business “stuff” will filter into your private life. If you are the one and onlyin your business, and you’re feeling “off”, then your business is feeling “off” as well, that day. We’re all trying to pretend that we keep our small business and our private life separate, but I am definitely fooling myself if I say I can do that. How to deal with small business problems knowing this? Well, the key to running a successful small business AND have a prosperous and fulfilling personal life is knowing your core values in both your small business and your personal life. Core values are the biggest determiner of results in both your professional and personal life. The are the drivers for action, the answer to the question: “what is most important to you in your small business, and in your personal life”. Often, we come up with answers that depict the core values we would LOVE to see results of. Someone who does not have a successful business mentions “business success” as a core value. Someone who’s life is totally unfulfilled mentions “purpose” as a core value. There is nothing implicitly wrong with this, other than that the results in these people’s lives and businesses often are completely out of synch with the core value mentioned. Not always, but definitely often. Here is a truth: your current results will show you your current core values. They will tell you what is important to you, as these results are the product of your choices (read: core values). If you would love business success, but you really want to spend time with your family more than you want business success, then that’s probably your result: spending time with family over making a profit. If you would love to increase your clientele base in your business but dislike networking functions more, then that’s probably your result: you will stay home more than visit networking functions. How to solve small business problems using core values. So, the first step to change is to be honest with yourself, and identify what your current core values are, based on the results you are currently producing. Where do you put your priorities? Those results generally come easy; you will be motivated to take action in their direction, you will be comfortable with the steps towards the results and with the results themselves. I have to admit: if I look at marketing strategies for my own business, I choose writing articles over finding and meeting new prospects. So, guess where most of my current results in my business are? The second step is to identify what it is you truly want in your business AND in your life. Be clear about the desired results. Often, they are the direct opposite of what you do NOT want anymore, so that’s a good start. For example: “I don’t want to work 80 hours a week anymore”. Great, that was your result so far, so: what DO you want? “I don’t want to struggle in my business anymore”. If that’s what’s happening right now, what do you WANT to happen, and what core value does that represent? Again, be honest, and be clear. WHAT is it, in terms of core values, that you are doing that you do not want to be doing anymore, and what is the new core value result? If, in my case, I find that writing articles is not bringing me enough business, and change is necessary, what do I want? Well, more business, obviously (be specific on “more” as well), which would signify a core value of business success. The third step is to identify what you can do to change the results around towards the new core value. Pick a couple of steps, and implement. No, they may not be easy, as they will be outside your comfort zone, but in time they will become more acceptable, and results will start to change. In my case: if I want business success, and I know that networking is a good tool towards business success, then that is an action step I could implement. Taking that step long enough will change my results, and my future “current” results will then reflect my new core value! Seriously, this 1,2,3 step system is ironclad, and will work. Will you work it? Well, if it is important enough to you, you will (a core value!). If not, then there is obviously a core value at play that is even MORE important to you than change, and your results will show. Do the same exercise, and find out what THAT core value is, and apply the same process. Small business problems can be small business PROBLEMS. By using this technique you can, slowly but surely, turn them into SMALL business problems! To your business success!