I think that it was Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It, who came up with this question. Do you own your business or does it own you?
In the first half of the book he describes Sarah, the fictional owner of a pie making shop. She started her business full of enthusiasm because she loved making pies. However, the business soon took over her life and she struggled to earn the money rewards or the freedom that she’d hoped for.
Gerber’s book has inspired many business owners to renew their efforts to achieve freedom through their business. It’s not easy but it is possible – and it’s what we help with at Building Your Business.
The key is a combination of thinking and action. Thinking is strategy work and Gerber says that too few business owners spend enough time imagining what their businesses will have to look like if they are going to achieve their personal goals.
Once this ‘strategic objective’ is in place, the business owner can work towards the freedom and financial rewards he or she desires.
Where should you set up a restaurant? – Where there’s a hungry crowd.
Of course, this doesn’t apply just to restaurants. When you’re looking at possible business ideas for a new start up, the key point is to assess the level of customer demand. Can you spot a gap in the market?
You don’t have to come up with a new idea. In fact, it’s better to follow a tried and trusted success formula. Maybe you can simply copy a business that’s working well elsewhere.
For someone setting up a new business, particularly if you want a low risk option, a good idea is to tap into a ready made business such as a franchise. If you already work full or part time and you’d like to build a second income stream, you might look at a network marketing business.
Both franchises and network marketing allow you to reduce your risk by becoming part of a larger successful enterprise, while maintaining the independence of owning your own business.
You can also assess the different franchise or network marketing companies to see how well they’re working for other people – and to decide whether there’s a hungry crowd of shoppers in your locality ready to do business with you.
When people talk about starting a small business they’re often thinking of traditional bricks and mortar ideas such as a corner shop or a cafe. The problem with that sort of business is that it’s pretty high risk. Overheads and set up costs can be substantial and you can lose money.
For most people, who have never run their own business, operating from home makes a lot of sense. Costs are much lower and there are many possibilities for setting up a part time enterprise which you can run along side a full or part time job.
With a part time home business, you also get the chance to learn by experience about marketing and business finances. If the money starts rolling in you can decide whether to go self employed full time and whether to rent business premises.
One of the key issues for anyone running a small business is time management.
There are always things that have to be done. However, it’s vital to find time for proactive tasks – looking at where you’re heading and make course adjustments.
Spending time thinking is also very important because it’s so easy to keep on doing things the way you’ve always done them.
Two ideas come to mind from Stephen Covey – The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.
First – The Big Stones. We have to schedule important proactive tasks into the diary ahead of time. If we don’t do this, time can run away from us and we can end up at the end of the week / month / year and nothing has changed.
Second – The Ladder. If you imagine life as climbing a ladder, we don’t want to get to the top and find that our ladder was leaning on the wrong wall.
I’m writing this towards the end of January 2014. Hopefully you have set goals for this year. If you haven’t, now is good time to start!
Welcome to Building Your Business. This is our new website. Thank you for stopping by. We’ll be adding regular articles over the next few months.