This business post was originally published on AllBusiness.com.
If you’ve read any of my articles, you know that they are often inspired by my life. My current inspiration (if you can call it that) is dating. I just ended something because my instinct saw red flags. In the past, I’ve ignored these to my detriment, so I’m pretty proud to be seeing them before I get hurt.
But your gut doesn’t just tell you about potential “creepazoids.” It can tell you a lot about your business . . . if you’re willing to listen.
When you’re looking for a business partner . . .
Just like in dating, you’ve got to find the right fit when it comes to someone you trust enough to help you steer this ship. A business partnership isn’t something you should go into lightly. Even if you love this person in your real life, you may not love making business decisions together.
If you’re considering partnering with a friend or family member, take some time to sit on the decision. Let that initial excitement about the possibility of working with someone you know and trust fade a bit and trust your gut. It’s often quite literally a sensation in your stomach or chest. Do you feel a little queasy when you think about working together? Does your heart pound, and not in a good way?
Don’t discount that.
When you’re talking to a potential client . . .
I know it seems like getting a new client is always a great thing, but before you get dazzled by the prospect of more revenue, really pay attention to what this prospect is telling you. You may instantly pick up on her neediness (she’s called three times in two days and emailed you countless other times). She may be trying to lowball your rate. These aren’t things that will go away, so ask yourself whether you can see working with her long-term. It’s easier to divert a potential client than fire her later.
When a salesperson is pitching you . . .
As a micropreneur, you may be the only one around to make a decision about an investment. And salespeople are so good at their jobs. If one is trying to convince you that your business will wither up and die if you don’t invest in this expensive software, ask for some space to think about it.
Actually, I guarantee your business won’t die without it. But step away from all the slick marketing speak and ask whether it’s the right investment for right now. It might be the right one in a year. It just depends on what your current goals are and whether this investment would help you achieve them.
Salespeople know that it’s easier to ride the train than get off, so make sure you’re in control of the situation. If he’s being too pushy, make it clear that the answer is “no.” If he’s willing to give you time to make the decision and is not breathing down your neck, you can make a more informed conclusion about what you want to do.
When you want to pivot . . .
Over the past 13 years of running my content marketing firm, I’ve looked at different avenues for revenue. One way was affiliate marketing. Back in 2010, it seemed like everyone was making billions through affiliate marketing. And so I tried it. It didn’t work for me.
The same for video. I’m a master at writing a blog post, but when it comes to creating video content, it’s like walking through sludge.
Had I stopped to consider the fact that I’m not a lemur and I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing, I might have saved myself the headache of trying to make these solutions work. I’m getting better at knowing my strengths as a business owner, so I don’t let trends sway me anymore.
Learning to trust your gut
In my dating life, I look back over the last few years and still marvel that I put up with some of the men I dated. But I look at each as a learning opportunity. Now I’m better able to listen to my gut cry, “Nooooo!” and take heed before the damage is done. I like to think it’s helped me as an entrepreneur as well.