To succeed as a small business in today’s economy – especially in the service industry – expertise in your profession is only the first step. Gone are the days of growing your small business simply based on your industry knowledge. Competition is fierce for HVAC experts, construction companies, landscapers, and other service industry professionals.

If you want your small business to grow and succeed, check out these 3 important small business tips to lead your business in the right direction.

FIND A MENTOR

As Oprah Winfrey once said, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” Oprah’s inspirational quote may seem soft and fuzzy, but mentorship goes far beyond providing a small business owner a source of inspiration.

As a small business owner, it is important to have someone outside of your day-to-day operations that you can bounce ideas off of, ask for advice, or simply ask for an ear to listen. The ideal mentor would be successful, educated, and experienced in your line of business. However, it is not typically recommended to build a mentorship with someone in direct competition with you. For example, an HVAC professional could learn a lot from a successful construction company owner (and vice versa!).

Networking events and service conferences are a great place to find possible mentorship opportunities. Remember: The worst someone can say is, “No.” If you never ask… The answer will always be no.

TIME MANAGEMENT

As a small business owner, time is money. Find a schedule that works best for you and be accountable to sticking to that schedule. For example, many successful business owners swear by starting their days early versus ending them late.

Once you find a groove that works for you, end your day by creating a to-do list for the following day. This allows you to end the day on a high note, and it increases your chances of hitting the ground running the next day. Whether your to-do list includes meeting with team members, clients, or simply tasks to complete yourself – put them on your calendar! Adding items to a calendar that is easily viewable on your computer or phone allows you to schedule your time as productively as possible.

Just as you create a financial budget, a formal to-do list and daily schedule allows you to successfully budget your time. Always feel overworked? Do not be afraid to block time on your calendar to go on a walk, listen to your favorite music, read a book, or spend time with family. What gets measured gets done!

DELEGATE

Many entrepreneurs make the grave mistake of trying to do everything themselves. It is easy to think you are saving money by accomplishing every task to avoid paying someone else.

However, just because you can do everything does not mean you should. For example, if you are a landscape specialist that dreads creating weekly social media posts and completing other marketing tasks – is it really the best use of your time? You likely began this small business journey because you are passionate about your green thumb, while someone else in the world is passionate and educated on creating successful marketing campaigns. Hiring a marketing employee or contractor could free up your time to complete more landscaping work (cha-ching!), with a good chance of experiencing more successful marketing efforts.

Many small business owners struggle to master the art of delegation. You will not always love every part of your job, and that is okay. However, consider delegation if certain tasks are completely out of your wheelhouse of expertise and are taking time away from the purpose of your business. Very few successful start-ups continue to be successful with only one brain behind the magic.

Starting, growing, and maintaining a small service business is tough. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to succeeding as a small business, so make sure you use each of these tips wisely with only small changes at first. As you try new approaches, reflect on their success (or failure) and adjust to meet the needs of yourself, your business, your team, and your customers.

Every journey begins with the first step!

Hopefully these small business tips help you and your business continue to prosper while avoiding unnecessary obstacles.