There was a time when you could set up shop in your hometown and live comfortably. Our lives were simpler then and we tended to mix locally, rarely moving out of our community. Christmas and school holidays would see us heading to our favourite beaches and camping spots but the rest of the time we would hang out with family and friends. Our mixed business, deli or milk bar would allow us to put food on the table and pay the bills. These days, we are more demanding. We need the best house in the street, the latest model car and designer clothes. We love to eat out and fly overseas whenever we can.
Business has changed and the competition is everywhere... local, national, overseas, online. Making a comfortable living has become harder for the small business person. Now, more than ever, it is critical to research, seek advice, prepare, plan, continue to learn and remain flexible.
Never before have we seen such wonderful opportunities or faced so many variables when starting a new business. But, with opportunities come problems for the small business owner. We often find ourselves under immense pressure to fit everything into a five day week. 40 hours can become 60 and 70 as we struggle to pay our staff, keep up with family needs and pay mortgages. Holidays can become fewer and stress can lead to illness.
However, it should not be like this. Being in business should enhance our lifestyle, not restrict it. Most of us go into business to "be our own boss"And work our own hours. Many of us end up becoming a slave to the business and find themselves working longer hours for less money than they were previously getting when working as an Employee.
So, what is the answer? When starting a new business you need to ask just two questions.
- "What am I going to do?" and
- "Why do I want to do it?"
The answer to these two questions will determine whether you should be in business or working as an employee. For example, say that you are a plumber who has worked for the same company for ten years. You like being a plumber but you don't like the boss. Is that reason enough to go into business? Maybe... maybe not.
However, perhaps your job regularly takes you away and you'd like to spend more time with your family. You also feel that you'd like to spend time pursuing your favourite sport, something you can't do while travelling. Perhaps you have a great idea for a new product or service... something that will revolutionise your industry. Or, maybe you have a dream to help disadvantaged people. These things could all be a good reason to go into business. Do what you love!
Whatever your do, you need to know what it is that's driving you. It needs to be something that you simply have to do. Take some time right now to think about these two questions. Then, make the changes you need to make to control your life.