My husband runs a home-based business that requires a lot of cold calling. He calls strangers and convinces them to listen to him and sign up for his service.
This is a Herculean task, and the way he approaches it is impressive namely, he doesn't allow rejection to daunt him. His belief that his company can provide real value to his prospects keeps his attitude positive. He also understands that he won't make every sale, and instead works to reach the people who need his services the most.
Like many successful entrepreneurs, my husband views rejection as an opportunity. When he faces an unfavorable situation, he reviews it to learn something that will change the result the next time around. For example, he is interested in the reasons his prospects give for declining to buy and uses this information to hone his offering.
For home-based business owners, rejection can come in many forms. It can be a failed proposal, a declined loan or a meeting with an important contact that is continuously canceled.
Being rebuffed can sap anyone of the power to manage a situation. But people who work at home are more likely to take rejection seriously because they may not have others to commiserate with. If rejection threatens to derail your drive to succeed, use these tips to keep moving forward:
? Acknowledge rejection. Some people feel as though they should never fail. But rejection is a normal part of life. The law of averages ensures that everyone will, at some point, have the experience of not getting what they want. Accepting it as a common occurrence will keep you from placing too much importance on it when it happens.
? Talk about it. The isolation of working at home can make it easy to continuously replay a rebuke in your mind. Instead, seek out someone to talk to about the situation. Another perspective may help you see the event objectively and perhaps even humorously.
? Don't globalize. When some people fail at one thing, they begin to think they will fail at everything. If you get entangled in this negative thinking, take a moment to remind yourself of your successes and failures. Chances are you've experienced a fair amount of both. If you doubt you can overcome setbacks, take a look around. Many successful businesses occasionally blunder. Consider Ford Motor Co.'s introduction of the Edsel or Coca Cola's promotion of New Coke.
? Pat yourself on the back. Being rejected means you've tried to accomplish something. This is reason to celebrate. It demonstrates your initiative and ability to make things happen. It also underscores the fact that you won't let setbacks stop you. You're a risk taker.
? Don't worry about others. Some people fear that rejection will make them look foolish to others. If you feel this way, keep in mind that people who would disparage you for being rejected probably do not take risks to get what they want. Therefore, they are not likely to understand the passion you have for reaching your goals and your willingness to face uncertainty.
? Learn from it. If hindsight allows you to identify possible reasons for the rejection, evaluate what you can do in the future to prevent the same outcome. Having a plan of action will keep you from belaboring the fact that the setback occurred.
? Refuse to fail. If you let rejection eat away at you, you may deplete your desire to persevere. Thomas Edison once said, "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." Instead of giving up, resolve to succeed.
Evaluating your location
Recently, I have been thinking about relocating my business. New York is a fantastic place to live, but increasing rent, high labor costs and other burdens the city places on business owners cause me to periodically think about moving my operations. In these moments, I think about all of the money I would save if I chose to operate in a state that gives small-business owners a break.
Because of these thoughts, I was very interested in a recent study by the Small Business Survival Committee that ranked the 50 states and District of Columbia according to how well their policies support small businesses. The results and methodology may give you insight into what your state has or hasn't done for you lately.
The ranking put South Dakota which limits the tax burdens small businesses must shoulder on top as the most entrepreneur-friendly state. The District of Columbia which imposes a number of taxes on small businesses ended the list at No. 51.
The states rounding out the top 10 most encouraging for small business included Wyoming, Nevada, New Hampshire, Washington, Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama. The last 10 on the list were D.C., Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Ohio, New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, California and Maine.
There are many reasons to choose one location over another for a home-based or small business, but this report points out that business owners may be able to make choices about location that will reduce operation costs. When analyzing your state, it may help to look at some of the factors the study used to rank states.
? Personal income tax. Some of the 50 states impose no personal income tax at all and others have rates that can exceed 10 percent. The more individuals pay in personal income tax, the less they have to save, invest and spend on entrepreneurial ventures. Because a large percentage of businesses file taxes as individuals rather than corporations, a state's personal income tax rate can have a large impact on an entrepreneur's profitability.
? Capital gains tax. States with low capital gains tax are attractive to business owners who hope to realize high profits from selling their company in the future. High capital gains tax discourages investment in a business.
? Property taxes. If you own your home, high property taxes can affect the cost of running a home-based business. As your business grows, your state's rate may also factor into the decision to move your home-office to a larger off-site facility.
? Death taxes. Although business owners are taxed on their companies' earning during their lifetimes, some states also levy high taxes on a company's total assets after the owner's death. High death taxes may result in the closing of viable businesses, which in the long run can stunt a state's economic growth.
? Health insurance tax. State taxes on insurance premiums raise the cost of health insurance. This may encourage home-based business owners to skip health coverage or raise their cost of staying in business.
The report titled "The Small Business Survival Index" is the third annual report from the Small Business Survival Committee, a non-profit organization. If you are interested in viewing it in its entirety, you can find it online at http://www.sbsc.org/98sbsi.htm.
Alice Bredin is author of the "Virtual Office Survival Handbook" (John Wiley & Sons) and a nationally syndicated columnist.
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