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10 Top Tips to Feel Less Isolated as a Small Business Owner

business guest blogs mindset Feb 14, 2024
10 Top Tips to Feel Less Isolated as a Small Business Owner

By Corinne Lewis-Ward.

Running a small business is tough.

Many people think that being in control of your own time and working on creating a company that reflects your values must be so liberating, but running a small business is a challenge.

When starting a business, many people possess a level of optimistic naivety that helps them get through the early days. Although the flexibility to work on your own terms and according to your strengths can be rewarding, there can be a lot of daunting tasks that cause stress and frustration along the way.

I believe this to be particularly true for those in creative fields. You may often find yourself questioning where all of your creative time has gone and why so much of it is spent on tasks that you would rather not be doing. In my opinion, it's essential to cultivate a community of like-minded individuals who can provide the motivation needed to keep going during difficult times.

Running a small business has been especially difficult for many people in the last few years. While some entrepreneurs experienced immense growth in their e-commerce businesses during the lockdown, they now face intense competition from high-street retailers, which is particularly daunting for independent business owners. Although I don't have any magical solutions to increase your visibility, I do have some tips on how to keep your energy levels up during challenging times, which have helped me push through difficult periods.

Below are my top tips for attracting the right people to you and your business and ensuring you can maintain these relationships long-term. 

  1. See other people's time as a valuable asset and respect it. As someone who struggles with time management due to my neurodiversity, I make a conscious effort to manage people's expectations when it comes to meeting up with them. Even though scheduling meetings with my busy network of contacts can take weeks, I always try to be mindful and respectful of their time. This approach helps to make them feel appreciated and valued. 
  2. See your own time as an equally valuable asset. Many people often fail to manage their time effectively and overlook the financial value of it. I am equally guilty of this, so there is no judgment here. You must be mindful of your time when scheduling meetings and that you value it as much as the product or service you offer. This will help you establish boundaries and allow you to be fully present when meeting with your community while making space for quality time with them. 
  3. Understand the value you bring and align yourself with people who are problem solvers. There are significant benefits to being a problem identifier; however, if you don't bring an equally valuable solution to the table, this can be energy-draining. It is essential to surround yourself with people who motivate and energise you. Problem solvers can be great motivators as they see obstacles as challenges to overcome rather than barriers to success. If someone is always negative and sees only reasons why things cannot be done, consider whether they are the kind of people you want around you when facing everyday challenges. It is not necessary to cut people out of your life, but it is okay to limit contact with those who drain your energy. If you have a business goal in mind, it is essential to prioritise people in your close circle who help you achieve your goals.
  4. Align yourself with a business community and individuals who share your values as a small business. Attend networking events, join online groups, or become part of a member organisation. If you feel nervous, bring a colleague or friend along for support. It's also a good idea to build your network through social media; one way to do this is to support other businesses by liking, commenting, and sharing their content. Consider joining membership organisations that are likely to have clients or peers whom you would like to work with. By doing this, you can expand your network and connect with professionals in your industry.
  5. Stay mindful of your social battery. I really enjoy networking, but it drains me if I do it excessively. I always cherish one-on-one conversations as I find them to be more comfortable and fulfilling. However, I also require time alone to process things. As someone who is neurodivergent, I am particularly conscious of my requirements. Nonetheless, I believe that accessible practices benefit everyone. Therefore, being aware of your needs will enable you to bring positive energy to your business community and maintain the stamina to develop your network.
  6. Attract the right people to your business community. Attracting the right people to your business community is vital for maintaining enthusiasm and ensuring that you have people around you who are enthusiastic about your success. Apart from being there for you during challenging times, a high-quality network will encourage and support you when you achieve your goals. To attract the right people to your network, it's essential to establish your values and share them publicly through blog posts and social media. This will help you to connect with people who share similar values and aspirations. 
  7. Be happy for others' success. I love nothing more than to see other people thrive, especially those who are in a similar line of work as me. It validates that there is a market demand for what I do, and seeing people excel in their endeavours is genuinely satisfying. There were times when my children were younger, and I had to watch as other businesses grew while I struggled to keep up due to my neurodiverse barriers. However, I firmly believe that feeling envious and resentful of someone else's success is counterproductive and drains your energy. It also diverts attention from your path, which can impede progress. Additionally, it's essential to exercise caution when interpreting what we see online because we really never know what goes on behind the scenes in other people's lives, and social media isn't always an accurate representation of reality. 
  8. Determine your version of success. Defining your values is crucial in identifying your people. My definition of success revolves around creating high-quality art pieces that people can cherish. I want my work to make a social impact by supporting local supply chains and promoting tourism in the UK and beyond. I aim to strike a balance between my business and personal life, taking care of my mental health and wellbeing. When surrounded by people who share the same values as you, it becomes easier to stay true to yourself, and they can help guide you when you lose focus.
  9. Work with the right people. Ensuring that the values of your supply chain align with yours can make them feel like an integral part of your team; this is especially beneficial for sole traders who may otherwise feel isolated. Collaborating with people you admire, respect and appreciate can help them become a crucial part of your freelance team and supply chain. Establishing solid and long-term relationships with your suppliers can help you build a good reputation, establish a sustainable infrastructure, and achieve long-term success.
  10. Cherish the network you build. It's important to cherish the people who are there for you throughout the ups and downs of your business journey. They are the ones who acknowledge your hard work and determination. These people give you the strength and motivation to pursue your dreams and understand that the path you've chosen is unique. Having these people by your side is crucial, and if you can reciprocate their support, no mountain is too high for you to climb. 


I saw an Instagram post shared with me by someone in my cherished network; the quote was, "Surround yourself with people who fight for you in rooms you're not in." I kind of like that, don't you? 

Finally, my main advice would be to treat others as you would be treated. This will help you build solid relationships and mean that you will attract the best people to you and your business, bringing you an abundance of success and happiness. 

I hope you found those top tips helpful, and I wish you every success. 

Signing off for now.


Corinne Lewis Ward is the Founder of Powder Butterfly, creating posh souvenirs made in Britain. She is also chair of Generator Union, a creative retail and pop-up shop consultant, an expert designer for Printable surfaces, a problem solver, and a creative extraordinaire.

You can learn more about Corinne at Powder Butterfly or on LinkedIn

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