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  • How Small Business Owners Can Be More Optimistic

    The new Capital One Spark Business Barometer reveals that small business optimism has dropped in the first quarter of this year by 9 percent compared to the same time in 2015. Additionally 57 percent of small business owners feel that business conditions in their area are fair or poor. Business owners in the study are most concerned about the potential impacts of the political process and who the next president will be. This has prevented them from hiring more, adopting new technologies and they are missing out on valuable financial benefits like cash and travel rewards.

    Despite these concerns, business owners should invest more in their companies now in order to thrive in the future. If other business owners aren’t hiring and are less likely to take risks, you should do the opposite of them to stand out and grow faster. Since this is National Small Business Week, my goal is to uplift your spirits and provide you with real strategies that will help you be optimistic despite uncertainty. Here are some tips:

    1. Forget the news. If you watch the news, it’s hard to be optimistic because there are so many disturbing news stories of people going out of business, dying or terrorist attacks. The more you watch the news, the more those negative images will affect you and your business decisions. Instead of focusing on other people’s problems, think about how you can be a better boss and a better business operator.
    1. Find a way to vent. When you’re stressed out and feeling negative, you need to find a way to get it out of your system. Small business owners can do various things to create more positive energy, including meditation and exercising. Find your own way to unwind and get some of that negative energy out of your system because when you’re healthier, you tend to be happier and more optimistic.
    1. Remove poor performers. When you hire the wrong person, it puts a real burden on your business. As a small business, every hire is extremely important and valuable to your success and as they say, hire slow and fire fast. When you remove negative poor performers from your organization, your current employees will feel more positive and optimistic, and as a result you will as well.
    1. Think about what’s going right with your business. Instead of focusing on the aspects of your business that aren’t going well, such as a loss of a customer or a poor employee, think about what’s going right. You may have a lot going for you, such as have a strong product.
    1. Create a support group of other entrepreneurs. You aren’t the only one feeling the struggle and lack of optimism in this economy. Create a group of other entrepreneurs who are in the same or different industries and meet at least a few times a month. During these meetings, have each entrepreneur discuss their current issues and then have the rest of the group try and help them. Sometimes entrepreneurship can be quite lonely but if you have a support group, you can gain more confidence and be more optimistic.

    This post is sponsored by Capital One.

    Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages.

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