To be, or not to be in Business. Have You Got What it Takes?

One of the most important questions to ask before going into business on your own is “am I cut out for it?” A question which many small business owners find themselves asking at a much later stage, as they don’t truly understand what’s involved at the beginning.

I remember the case of a client who, after three years in business, was suffering major setbacks and unsure whether to cut his losses and get out or keep struggling on. Arriving at the answer to this question takes some honest soul searching and willingness to take advice. Sometimes the changes required are straight forward, sometimes they are more complex. Some outside of the square thinking maybe all it takes but how do we do that? let alone have the time to do that?

Managing a business at the best of times has its challenges. Even the greatest business concept won’t succeed if its owner is not ready to take on the management issues that arise from being self employed  such as quoting, invoicing, tax, managing client relationships and staffing through to the big picture processes of business strategy, business planning, marketing and performance monitoring.

Where a lot of small business owners go wrong is that they often end up working far more than they should for the return they are getting. Whilst they are working extremely hard, the problem is generally that they have run off course and are doing the “wrong work”.  As a result of this, businesses often end up in chaos – unmanageable, unpredictable and unrewarding.

So if you’ve taken the leap and now find you’re working too hard for poor return and wondering whether you should simply get out – take a step back and revisit the reason(s) you decided to go into business in the first place and whether the reason(s) remain plausible.

You then need to make an honest assessment of the way in which you have operated your business to date and attempt to understand the causes of the setbacks you have recently faced.  They may be specific to your business and/or management style or they could be industry wide. Identifying the root causes will make a big difference in what you do next.

Make your assessment in consultation with your advisors or mentors. Revisit your business vision and strategy and then ensure that you have a business plan that provides a clear methodology that will underpin the route to achieving your objectives and making your vision and strategy come alive.

Most of all, have someone who has the skills to walk beside you in a coaching/mentoring role to help you make that journey.

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