When most people think of entrepreneurs often they think of men and women walking briskly around the city as they work to make their millions. In most people’s minds they neglect to imagine the entrepreneur as a young man or woman sitting in a wheelchair. The truth is entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes and with various abilities and disabilities. There isn’t a one size fits all, which is the same for businesses themselves.
For the past 15 years I have been running my own little enterprise from the comfort of my wheelchair – and my desk of course! I have been able to make a great living for myself and create a legacy which I can pass on to my two children when the time comes. I have also picked up some tips from those in business who have successfully dealt with access issues which stopped some customers using the services of their business. Here are some of those tips which should be an integral part of every business model to ensure that you maximise your consumer base.
Be Aware of the Needs of People Inside Your Company and Your Customers too
One thing you notice when you have a disability are things that are missing. I notice when desks are the wrong size, if a bathroom isn’t suitable or if a ramp is missing on the stairs for example. When you are in business and selling services and products, it pays to be a stickler for details like these to ensure that the right equipment and facilities are available to those who need it in order to provide the best possible experience for everyone. Additionally think about the access to the building and providing jobs and services to those who may need some extra assistance in the property.
Mistakes are Common Place
In business mistakes don’t always mean disaster; you can learn a lot from making the odd error here and there. It doesn’t matter if you have a disability or not as mistakes happen and it’s not the end of the world. What’s important is that these errors are picked up on and used to learn new ways and methods of going about things.
It is very easy to get caught up in complicated processes. In business it helps to make everything as simple as possible. If you are dealing with an issue full of complications break them down into small chunks. So if you need to make improvements to your premises do it step by step. Find out what needs to be done to improve the access of your business by using access audits. Break your findings of how you can improve access into smaller projects and complete one step before moving on to another. The same method can be applied to marketing, advertising, business planning and more.
Listen to What’s Being Said
You can learn a lot from your employees, investors and your customers. It is important to have open ears and be willing to change your mind and your plans based on what you have been told. You cannot know all the right answers all the time so use the people around you to get the best results.
You need to be flexible; if something isn’t working it needs to be changed. Even if you have spent years planning and lost sleep over one idea if it fails you need to let it go.
I think the most important thing to remember is that everyone is in it together. Try not to distance yourself from your team by keeping communication open at all times. Separating managers from the clerks can lead to discrimination which is something that shouldn’t be found in any business.
The business world is full of a wide range of people from all walks of life. Being more open and flexible will help you to adapt in the ever changing world, increasing your chances for success.
Aki Hashimoto is a writer who has a keen interest in business. She recommends that if you are looking to set up or are already running a successful business, then it is important to research access audits to ensure your company offers total access to all customers.