Its can be lonely ride to the top…..if you are a business owner
I sometimes despair at the weight on my shoulders of running a successful business. The high and lows, serious happiness and extreme downs are ever present and it saddens me that business owners be they one man bands or leading a much larger organisation feel under pressure to be the “Happy Clappy everything is alright boss” at all times.
I’m often told I wear my heart on my sleeve and yes at times this has left me exposed, but in the main I firmly believe that a problem shared is a problem halved. If more entrepreneurs/business owners were more honest about their ride to the top, more businesses would succeed and more business owners would sleep and feel so much better about where they are at in the growth ladder of their company and its ultimate success.
Don’t get me wrong people fail. They do… it’s a sad fact of life, they over stretch themselves, they take advice from the wrong people, they try to please all of the people all of the time but let’s get it into perspective here. If you have a great idea, if you have researched the market, you have got the right price point and are driven,, you can keep your business going and you can make it fly!
Lessons I’ve learnt and stand by, some of these might help you or at least resonate a little lightening the load on your shoulders….
1/ You can’t possibly know everything!!! Yes I said this out loud! Ssssh don’t tell anyone that knows me I said it out loud because OBVIOUSLY I know everything!! NOT!- Breathe and ask someone, take advice, yes I know it’s hard admitting it to yourself let alone someone else but seriously another perspective is so helpful!
2/ Learn how to read a balance sheet & keep it up to date!! – I got a CSE in maths! I hate figures & I’d always been really bad at organising finances. If it’s a weakness get someone else to do it for you but understand what they’ve done! Ask questions from your accountant or book keeper; keep asking until you get it!!! It took me months! My eyes glazed over but keeping on top of your accounts and cash flow is vital!
3/Have a third party confidant- don’t go home and moan at your spouse/partner. Don’t let work be the last thing you talk about at night and the first thing you talk about in the morning because it’s a drag! People don’t want to hear it! Get a mentor or a business coach, though choose wisely! Moan at them they are used to it and they can give you a slap and tell you what to do if they are worth their salt?! It’s a huge weight we bear on our shoulders, don’t shoulder it alone at least have someone that will let you moan out loud lol…
4/Business Plans aren’t set in stone they are movable feasts! – Yes they are! – They aren’t rigid set in stone documents. In the early days of running a business they could change every 6 weeks be prepared to at least re look at them every quarter, to see if you are on plan and whether your goals need to be realigned. Don’t disappoint yourself by not reaching your own business plan when you are the one that wrote it! Let it stretch you but not be a plan to watch fail.
5/ Dream but be realistic – Dreaming is good, dreaming is what inspires us and takes us forward and makes us get out of bed in the morning to achieve great things. BUT be realistic no one becomes a millionaire overnight unless they win the lottery!! It took 9 years from conception to landing on the moon, but they did it!!
6/People will let you down – Sad but True – it happens for so many reasons but try to be the best you can be despite this. Say what you mean, mean what you say. It’s essential in every aspect of life but key critical in business. You are your word and your word builds your reputation. Let others do their worst, rise above it and help them up when you can to. You are the winner here.
7/ Don’t be lonely – We all, yes all have times when the pressure gets too much and you feel the need to jack it all in and go and work in a supermarket! Talk to someone that gets you, talk to someone that is in a similar position as you, we all go through stages of smoke and mirrors in business when you are trying to show the outside world that all is well and yet paddling like hell trying to keep everything together. At these times and I can’t stress this enough! Take a break, write a list of what has to be achieved to make it alright again, involve your management team in decisions, and work it through bit by bit until you achieve the outcome you are looking for. Being a leader can be a very lonely place
Last but not least…
8/Take your employees with you..They are your life blood. – As you grow you will take on staff. Yes you really will!! It’s scary and daunting but so rewarding. But you must involve them and take them on your journey to the top. If you make a mistake in hiring and you will!! (Trust me I’m a recruiter & have got it wrong!!) Don’t prevaricate, don’t dither, deal with it, make it quick and make it clean. Hire Skill, enthusiasm and Loyalty every time over any other trait. These staff will help build your company, will help build your reputation, will work incredibly hard for you and your company as long as you treat them well and give them opportunity to be creative, innovate and lead. Hire people better than you always!!
Being a business owner is a wonderful thing ….enjoy it, make it work, yes its hard work but so rewarding! Id be interested to hear if any of you have come across any of these points/feelings and what you did to resolve them?