Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Business in not for everyone. Is it for you?

The concept of owning and running your own business is a love-hate phenomenon.

Those who fear it cringe when they hear the word 'risk', and begin to sweat when discussion bends to 'potential loss' or 'taking your work home with you'. To these individuals i would say business is probably not for you- or at least you will require a litttle bit of convincing. So i would ask that you retain an open mind for the next few minutes.

Why can business be an extremely rewarding experience?

1. You don't have a cap on your potential.

Whilst to some this sentiment may echo a vague version of believe-in-yourself mumbo jumbo void of all practicality, the simple truth in it is far-reaching and compelling. Indeed there are positions within an ordinary workplace where you may be stretched and even inspired. Perhaps you are one of the lucky few who have landed a focussed and challenging boss who is more like a mentor than a figurehead. But how often do you hear yourself thinking: are you sure that's a good idea? Or, if i was in your position I'm quite sure I'd do things differently. Or further still; I'm much smarter and more qualified than you, shouldn't I be in charge of you?

If you have ever asked one of these questions, then you are coming close to the notion that being an employee (in most cases) is a cap on your potential. You cannot perform beyond the fixed parameters you are harnessed within, and; you cannot excel beyond the competencies of your boss. You are wearing a seatbelt. In this circumstance it may be more beneficial to take it off!

2. You can quickly find out where your weaknesses are.

There are different philosophies floating around in cyber space and in print on the issues of personal strengths and weaknesses. Some argue that its more beneficial to identify your strengths and 'stick to your guns', so to speak. Whilst the more holistic argument demands a thorough self analysis to as to build on your competencies but also develop your weaknesses.

One of the fringe benefits of running your own business is your weaknesses quickly come into focus. It is then that the pruning and development can begin.

On this note, it's also important to consider what is the most valuable use of your time. Some weaknesses will be worth developing whilst with others, outsourcing may be the better option.

3. Business forces you to prioritise & time manage.

It's often not until you set yourself strict deadlines that you begin to clearly see how you have filled your 9-5 hours in the day. You realise that the whole hour you spend drinking coffee and reading the newspaper in the morning whilst slowly siphoning through emails is probably not the most vauable use of time.

One the other hand, you wonder how much efficient you day could be (and how much more energised you would be) if you threw in a 20 minute jog to get the blood pumping.

Running you own business forces you to set ongoing deadlines and be constantly measuring your progress. This is a built-in time management tool. However, if you have not been setting regular goals, chances are you are probably not progressing at the rate you would like.. and you probably need to whip out a pen and paper and start writing.

to be continued...

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