In last week’s blog, “What sort of business manager are you?” we talked about taking the plunge and running your own business and the reasons you did that – or you may be still thinking about it.
Taking that question to its next stage means we must rationalise the drivers to making the big step. One thing that is often forgotten or taken for granted is that behind every larger company there was always a ‘back-room team’ and often you have only a limited idea as to what they did. It didn’t concern you too much; you had your job to do. Now that you’re in your new business, you are that back-room team – and you will have to learn ‘stuff’ that doesn’t interest you or that you’re not good at.
Being your own boss suggests a sort of gung-ho, confident – even arrogant – stride into a new lifestyle. It suggests a capability and a natural flair and gift – almost a ‘right’ to the role.
This is the point where you’ve decided to wave goodbye to the monthly pay cheque. (Though it may not have been by choice, of course).
Establishing your own business means you certainly have to think differently, I’m sure you’ll agree. You have to depend on yourself alone to start with, at least. In fact, it’s more than a step-change, it has to be the most important work decision you’ve ever made. If your income and family are dependent upon your success, the way you apply yourself to the change is critical. There’s no profit and loss cushion as with a larger company. “We’ve had a bad quarter. Oh dear, still never mind.” (‘I’ll still get paid the same pay cheque, no change there.”)
Because you’ve done similar work for an employer counts for very little as you start up a new company. You’re generally starting from scratch, after all.
Yet so many breeze into their new small business with a sort of boutique mentality, imagining the world and his wife will naturally buy their goods or services. (Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams philosophy…..“Build it and they will come.”) Hoh, no they won’t! From now onwards, your income will be highly variable and sometimes you may not be able to pay yourself at all.
So, let’s look at the bare necessities. Even if you’ve been running a business for a while, the points we’ll make here will help you to (re)focus and perhaps identify why you’re not ship-shape and even if you’re running aground.
Talking to business owners, after a few months or years, it’s often clear that the vision has all but gone. If you can identify with this, then these blogs are for you. Also, consider that if you were to lose your top one, two or three customers, the impact this would have on you.
Where is the entrepreneur who had started the business? The answer is simple, the entrepreneur had only existed for a moment. If the entrepreneur survived at all it was only as a myth that grew out of misunderstanding about who goes into business and why.
The energy for the climb when they started their own business, and they must have had some dream that drove them to take such a risk, turns into a terror of heights. The rock-face had become something to cling to rather than scale. Exhaustion is common, exhilaration rare. But hadn’t all of them once been entrepreneurs?
The entrepreneurial spirit finds its root in a romantic belief that small businesses are started by entrepreneurs when in fact most are not.
We’ll develop the theme next week… Call us if the need is more pressing right now.