Have you always dreamed of being the one that makes all the decisions – the one that calls all the shots? Are you tired of working for someone else? Before you take the plunge and jump into the deep end of the pool have you done the market research – put a business plan together – and really thought it through? Have you thought about the impact it will have on your family and your personal life?
Before you quit your job and strike out on your own you might be interested in my answers to a series of questions I was asked by a former business student of mine. I hope my answers provide you with some valuable insight into what it takes to be successful.
What made you decide to get into business for yourself? Timing – it really boiled down to timing. I knew I wanted to make a career change. I was beginning to feel stuck and unfulfilled. For me – it’s never been about how much money I made. Now don’t get me wrong – money is important – but if it’s your only reason for getting into business for yourself – then you’re going to be disappointed – especially in your first few years. Make sure you have enough money saved up to pay your bills, put food on the table and keep a roof over your head for at least a year.
What are some of the challenges you faced in starting your own small business? I faced – and continue to face some of the same challenges everyone entrepreneur faces. Self-employed persons don’t have the luxury of a steady pay-cheque coming in. That puts a great deal of strain on your personal and family life. Everyone must give up something to get something. You need to decide what you and your family are willing to give up so that you can live your dream. Everybody needs to be on board. You need to be committed to doing whatever you need to do to be successful. If you and or your family aren’t willing to pay that price – then it’s best you stay where you are.
Any lessons learned that you can pass on to anyone wanting to start their own business? You need to be really passionate about what you are doing. You need to be prepared to work 80 hours a week for very little money. Have a budget and stick to it. Don’t spend money you haven’t generated yet.Find your niche Become an expert in something not a generalist in everything. What do you know or what product are you selling that someone else will pay you money to learn or have?
Food for thought: The two major reasons businesses fail are (1) Lack of management skills – and (2) Lack of financing. Most businesses fail within the first three years of start-up. (When I say most I mean over 90% fail) We have a tendency to overestimate revenue so divide your sales projections by half and run it by those numbers. You need to live and die by the numbers. Make business decisions – keep your emotions out of it. Always think worst-case scenario. That will help keep you grounded.
If I haven’t talked you out of getting into business for yourself after reading this article – then maybe – just maybe you have what it takes. Maybe you’ll make it to year five. I’ve been self-employed since 1998 and I’m still having fun. I wish you all the best.
Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you visit: https://briansmithpld.com
I’m old enough to remember working in the 1960s. (Yes – I’m that old.) Back in those days, you didn’t question authority. When management told you to jump – the only question you were allowed to ask was how high. Social Psychologist Douglas McGregor branded that style of management as Theory X. Management believed that people were inherently lazy and needed to be bullied or brow-beaten into performing their work. Unfortunately, there are still managers out there who use that style in an attempt to motivate their workforce. Times have certainly changed. What you need to decide now is – will the management style that got you here – be the same style that will get you to where you need to go? Would you work for you?
There’s been a dramatic shift in people’s attitudes towards work. Worker’s wants and needs have changed. For the newest generation, life outside of work – is just as important as life at work. Today’s managers and business leaders must manage differently to keep pace with that change if they want an engaged and productive workforce. Productivity is still the name of the game and that equation will never change. Management’s role is to minimize input and maximize output. Unfortunately downsizing, another word for layoffs and thin margins have put added pressure on managers to hold the line on the expense side of the ledger while still growing the profit side. In order to accomplish both managers must switch from being task-focused to people-focused.
Daniel Goleman, in his groundbreaking book – Working with Emotional Intelligence, said it best. “We are being judged by a new yardstick: not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle our selves and each other”. If you can’t make an emotional connection with the people you work with and interact with, you stand little chance of managing or leading. The good news is that managers and leaders aren’t born – they’re made. You can learn how to communicate and interact more successfully, build collaborative teams, problem solve, negotiate win-wins and motivate others to perform at their personal best. It just depends on how willing you are to change. Trust me – If you don’t, you’ll go the way of the dodo bird and dinosaurs.
Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com
People love to do business with people they like and trust. How do you get people to trust you? Trust is a by-product of building those all-important relationships. Some people are better at it then others, but you can learn how. First you need to establish rapport. Find out what they like to do outside of the workplace and use that to strike up a conversation. Do they have a hobby? Do they enjoy cooking, tending to the garden or watching sports? Once you have established a rapport comes a relationship. You can’t build a relationship until you have established a rapport. Out of that relationship comes mutual respect. Others will not respect you until you have built a relationship. If they respect you – they will trust you because they believe you have their best interest at heart. Once they trust you – more than likely they will go along with what ever you recommend.
Copyright(c) 2019. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you are your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com
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