So, you’re thinking about opening a small business. Or you already have one. Maybe you have a fast-food restaurant, or a dry cleaning business. Or you sell women’s clothing, skateboards, office supplies or the latest, greatest widgets. No matter what kind of business you have there’s one thing that matters most when it comes to your ultimate success: whether or not customers show up and buy your stuff (or services). Oh, it might be really great stuff. At a really great price. And your store might be really, really fancy. But maybe you’re missing out on some business. And you can’t figure out why.
I’ll tell you why: you’re too close. You can’t see your business with the eyes of your customers. This happens with writers all the time (which is why we have editors–to read our words with the eyes of readers). William Faulkner is rumored to have said, “kill your darlings,” meaning that writers must axe some of their words (even if they’re fantastic) if they don’t work well. Stephen King claims that, “It’s always easier to kill someone elses darlings than it is to kill your own.” Why? Because you’re invested in those words. You wrote them with love and it took you a long time and your house was messy and your kids were neglected the whole time you were crafting them. So once you finish writing the last thing you want to hear is that some of it isn’t any good. To a writer, all of her words look fabulous. Even when they’re not (which is more often for some of us than others, but that’s a different blog).