25th Business Birthday – Wow!
So it’s my 25th Business Birthday. 25 years ago I started my business Pro Active Resolutions in my back bedroom.
Certainly, time has flown and it has been a fantastic journey- which has seen a lot of changes.
From as far back as I can remember I always wanted to run a business, (didn’t know what).
Above all, my 25 years of business life has been about supporting business & entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow, and social enterprises and charities.
My 25th Business Anniversary – Wow
So, let me share some of the lessons learned and insights gained from over 25 years
The transition to your own business
To clarify, working for yourself, running your own business changes your life. Consequently, there are great times, bad times, and in between times. However, the positive aspects include flexible working hours, greater variety of work, increased job satisfaction and work challenges.
Along with these highs come autonomy and independence; improved work/life balance and increased earning power. The negative aspects of this life change can be no guarantee of work or income.
Also, a greater degree of isolation and less human contact. There can also be increases in financial risks, exposure; and stress from heavier workloads
A business anniversary is a reflective time, let me share some of the mistakes I’ve come across. Certainly, the list is by no means exhaustive or a judgement on anyone who has experienced the above. Likewise, I have made some of those mistakes listed above, and I don’t know any business that hasn’t.
Running your own business has a different level of risk and uncertainty compared to being ’employed’.
In my experience some of these common pitfalls include a mismatch between resources and expectations;
- Transition in mindset and responsibility for being more in charge of your own destiny
- Rubbish marketing and market research;
- Poor credit control;
- Thinking too much about you, and not your customers
- Over reliance on a few customers
- Weak systems
- Lack of commercial formalities, e.g. basic contracts and
- Not enough working capital.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. However, knowing about the main pitfalls and trip wires helps you be aware of them, and react accordingly.
Planning helps identify your challenges, and your approach for dealing with them. Planning Most of you wouldn’t go on holiday without some element of pre-planning, you should do the same in your business
Consider what your SMART objectives will be, these are what you will measure in terms of success. Your goals could be to generate enough income to maintain a decent lifestyle and a work life balance. You may want to achieve social and philanthropic outcomes. You may want to get out of what see as a mad corporate culture.
A goal is where you want to end up, your destination, typically within a certain time frame. Business goals do not say how to do something but tell you what the results will look like. Goals are measurable, in terms of quality and quantity. Goals are time based, for example, within 3 years, and are achievable
Objectives are the steps, the journey, the actions and tactics needed to reach your goal.
Your goals and objectives must be specific and measurable. Typical business goals will include areas such as profitability, growth and customer development.
Objectives are then developed to get to those goals.
A business goal is to make money, say increase current net profitability by £x, £10%.
To get there, possible objectives are
- Increasing annual sales by 10 percent,
- Introduce 2 new products by end of 2020
There is a difference between objectives from aspirations and missions. The absence of SMART objectives can relegate you to drift which can result in dissatisfaction and confusion. If a business sets out to make loads of money, it will never be satisfied, or be able to meaningfully assess its own journey. Look to make loads of money, but quantify and be specific as to what that looks like?
Mindset and Mistakes
First of all, success is heavily influenced by your mind-set and attitude towards achieving it. A fixed mindset is critical for due diligence, getting paid on time and controlling your costs.
However, a growth mindset is important for things like exploring opportunities, new initiatives and stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Also, every business will make mistakes, and bad decisions. Certainly, it’s the nature of business that things will not go according to plan. Therefore, learn from these mistakes, don’t be too hard on yourself and move forward.
Our mind set, and well-being are important ingredients for business success. Hence the need to look after yourself properly i.e. getting your work life balance right.
“All work and no play really do make Jack a dull boy” and no one wants that!
In conclusion success comes down to a mixture of mind set, hard work, luck and business disciplines. 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.
- Always belief in yourself no matter what- If you want something enough you can have it (with a lot of sweat and tears- sometimes).
- Don’t take anything for granted
- Try to keep your energy levels up- even when things may not be going your way
- Don’t rely on others for your success
- Enjoy the ride and don’t give up
- Connect with your numbers.
In the words of Scarface “ The world is yours”