16th August 2018

Going into Business Yourself?

Being in Business

Someone once said “Going into business for yourself, becoming an entrepreneur, is the modern-day equivalent of pioneering on the old frontier.” I can’t find the source of this quote but it resonates deeply with me. Becoming an entrepreneur does carry the same sense of risk, danger, thrill and rewards that I imagine a pioneer on the old frontier may have felt. For many people it is the most thrilling and rewarding and challenging of journeys.

Pioneers didn’t become pioneers with an expectation of failure but with the expectation of a better life, a better future. So it is with entrepreneurs. People don’t start businesses or become bitten with the entrepreneurial bug with an expectation of things failing. I imagine despite the fact that we might think back on early stage pioneers (of anything) with a romanticised glow of success the truth is that many, many pioneers did not succeed, did not have a successful time and did not experience a better future.

So it is with businesses and entrepreneurs. For every success story there are many more which are not successful, and there are many more that out and out fail and somewhere in the middle there are many that are just stuck between the two, either comfortably, or uncomfortably, underperforming, mired in a sea of mediocrity, with not enough income, not enough fun and nowhere near enough joy. Every week I meet business owners and leaders that are in that very position a bit like an individual with a chronic health problem except that in this particular case there are cures.

What challenges do you face?

Sometimes the business owner may not even realise there is a problem until something or someone challenges them. When they start to realise that they aren’t the highest paid person in their organisation. They are working the longest hours, taking almost all the responsibility, shouldering all the burden and yet taking the least holiday they may then start to question why they are doing what they are doing in the first place. Faced with this unpleasant reality they may decide to just pack it all in and go back and get a job, and the problem with that is the crushing sense of defeat and loss of pride and self esteem that goes with it. Or worse still the dissatisfaction turns into simmering resentment towards the business, its customers and the team which can rapidly descend into a downward spiral of ever poorer results and blame.

The real tragedy is counted in the cost of human misery that follows.

Its not all bad news

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a way out. This condition can be improved. This malaise can be cured. Often the business leader is already looking for a solution. They are looking for a magic key to open the door to escape from mediocrity and into the prosperity and joy that lies on the other side of the door. But often they are looking in the wrong place. It was Einstein who said that “The significant challenges we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”. By learning to think at a higher level we can overcome all of our challenges. Very often, in fact almost always, the solution, the magic key, does exist, but its not ‘out there’. It is not in a new piece of software, a new marketing plan, a new accountant a new fad, a new brand or a new social marketing initiative. The key is usually ‘in here’. The minute we start to change, our behaviour begins to change and as a consequence the results start to change. Instead of spiralling down we can begin to spiral upwards and replace the resentment with hope, and replace the despair with enthusiasm and replace the fear with excitement.

So if you are feeling trapped and that the business controls you rather than you control it the good news is that things can change and you are in absolutely the right place to make that happen. If this describes you in any way contact us to talk about turning things around.

If you would like to arrange a face to face meeting with Ian to discuss your challenges in business email