by: Ian Marshall
Running your own business can be highly rewarding but it can also be a very tough way of making a living. Serving customers, turning a profit, getting paid, watching the cash flow, and keeping on top of the admin are all daily survival challenges we business owners constantly face.
Meeting these challenges requires an enormous amount of hard work, patience and determination. Although these are indispensable ingredients for business survival and growth, it’s also crucially important that the business owner is making the right moves. That means recognising when the critical decisions need to be made, and then making well considered, consistent choices that keep the business moving in the right direction.
I have nothing but admiration for the many small businesses that serve their customers so well: producing a quality and range of products and services that match and frequently exceed the standards achieved by many of their much larger competitors. There can be no doubt we all benefit hugely from the high quality and terrific value small businesses consistently provide.
On the other hand, the business owners themselves often don’t get such a good deal. I constantly hear of businesses struggling on low profits, with poor cash flow, where their owners are working long hours, feeling under constant pressure, with little time to relax and enjoy a reasonable quality of life.
In my experience most small business owners generally don’t seek fabulous riches – they are looking for a better deal.
Sadly most people who start out in business do so with virtually no training or experience and have little comprehension of the challenges they’re taking on. When reality kicks in, the enormity of the trials they face can be a real shock. It’s perhaps not so surprising that many small business owners struggle as they do. In fact, most learn the hard way, by trial and error: a great deal of trial and a host of errors. What’s more, sometimes those errors can be very expensive.
It is perhaps therefore not surprising that a high portion of all business start-ups fail within the first few years. In that first crucial year they have to learn quickly what they need to do in order to survive and if they don’t, they can pay a harsh price.
But it really doesn’t have to be this way. To those small business owners who truly desire a better financial reward in return for their hard work and wish for a robust business that isn’t constantly lurching from one crisis to the next, take heart, it really is possible to take control of your own destiny.
You don’t need to be a natural leader, a financial wiz or a marketing guru to significantly move your business on from where it is right now to where you want it to be. Running a business well doesn’t mean you need to employ highly sophisticated techniques – just taking a common sense approach to activities covering all aspects of the business, in combination, can make a massive positive difference.
What’s more you don’t have to put in lots of extra hours to achieve all this. Strengthening your business doesn’t need to be about making huge leaps - I’d suggest, that absolutely any business owner can make a significant positive difference just by moving forward in gentle bite-size steps.
The inspiring underlying message here is that real business growth is accessible to any small-business owner willing to give it a try. Higher profits and personal income, a more robust business and more time to get a life are all absolutely achievable.
If you’re interested in a better deal for your business why not take that all important first small step today. If you were to take that first step right now, what would it be?
Author of The Savvy Guide to Kick-Starting Your Small Business. (Publisher - Panoma Press)