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Why Looking for "The Big Score" Can Put You Out of Business

by Yuwanda Black

Many small business owners spend most of their time concentrating on "the big one." All the while, they forget to nurse the little accounts, sales, ad opportunities, etc. that come their way every day.

SMALL BIZ FACT: Most small businesses fail within the first three years.

One of the reasons can be attributed to looking for "the big score." You know, the one account that's going to put you over the top; the one ad that's going to increase your sales by 500%; the one hot item that will make orders pour in. Are you starting to get the picture?

A Lesson Learned: I used to take on word processing projects when I first started Inkwell Editorial - my editorial staffing business. I would moan and groan when I got a $50 project, even though it only took me half an hour or so to complete.

I had dreams of handling big projects all the time -- the ones that took a couple of weeks but paid $3,000 to $4,000 dollars. I had these a couple of times a year. However, most of my projects fell in the $50 to $150 range.

From Small Change to Big Reality

One day while going over my books to see where the bulk of my income was coming from -- I was forced to by my accountant -- I had a startling realization. Those "small" projects added up. I was doing 5 to 10 a week, which meant my income was consistently between $700 to $1,000/week -- just from the word processing. And, when I did get a placement fee or a large word processing project, it could jump to between $3,000-$5,000 week (don't get excited, this didn't happen that often).

I tell this story because then and there I realized that like an addict, I was living for the "highs" of "the big one." If you've ever made a good chunk of change at one time -- and each person's definition of "chunk" is different -- then you know what I'm talking about. But, by continuing to seek this high, I was losing sight of the "small" strides my business was making every day. And, I was blowing it.

Ruining the Biz

How? By not using the funds from the smaller projects to reach long-term goals. Instead of saying, I'm going to place this ad in 3 months by putting aside the funds from the small jobs as they came in, I was telling myself, "Oh, when that big project rolls around again, I'm going to place this ad, buy this piece of equipment, etc."

But usually, when the big check came in, I always needed to do something else with it. Therefore, I never got around to placing that ad or buying that new piece of equipment. Hence, I wasn't getting my business where I wanted it to be because the small projects weren't paying for it, nor were the big ones.

The truth is, most things worth having in life are accomplished by taking small, consistent strides over a period of time. When you think of losing weight, getting a degree, speaking a foreign language -- anything worth having -- it never comes in the form of "the big one." That's like winning the lottery and face it folks, most of us ain't gonna win it! We have to do it the old-fashioned way -- hard work, patience and perseverance.

How to Stop the Being Addicted to "The Big One"

Start focusing more on the little things you can do TODAY to push your business forward. I'm not saying give up on landing the big one. On some days, that dream will be all that keeps you going. But, by all means, don't let it be your guiding light.

Instead of an ad in a national magazine, advertise in your local penny saver. Can't afford to do a trade show? Do a postcard mailer. Keep track of the progress you make. Before you know it, you will have 3 ads in your local penny saver, one on a couple of major websites and a couple of newspaper write-ups (which are free!) to your credit. 

Orders will slowly trickle in. Plow that money back into your biz and watch it grow -- slowly, but steadily and consistently. Success feeds upon itself. The key is to start doing SOMETHING today. When you put forth supreme effort -- the universe rewards you for it. Some call it luck, some call it hard work. But remember, success happens when preparation and hard work encounter luck. 

So, what are you going to do TODAY to get your business where you want it to be TOMORROW? One thing is guaranteed -- unless you start doing something, nothing will ever happen -- in your life or with your biz.


Yuwanda Black is an Author/Instructor/Speaker, and small business expert who advises others on how to achieve the dream of working for themselves. She has written and published numerous small business articles and press releases
in promotion of her ventures. Her current venture, is an online shopping portal and catalog distributor for ethnic goods and services.  It is a subsidiary of

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