The Realities of Running a Business
Written by Neil · President
As a business owner who has had multiple businesses for the past 20+ years, I think it is important for business owners to explain what all comes with going into business for yourself. Many people have dreams of being business owners, and many follow their dreams but unfortunately do not engage in the necessary due diligence that is required to ensure their transition into owning a business is not only smooth, but also profitable.
While wanting to go into business is an admirable thing, not everybody is built to actually do it. People often look at the benefits, and either ignore the risks or are not fully prepared for them. There is a reason why many start up businesses fail, we don’t often hear about them as they bow out quietly, but sadly many times the businesses fail because of the actual business owner and not because of the business not having the potential to be profitable.
Entrepreneurs often take a passion and think it will work because they are passionate about what they are doing, but passion doesn’t always lead to success.
In order to run a successful business, you obviously need to have money, a vision and an incredible amount of work ethic, many people have most of, if not all 3 of these requirements, but they overlook many of the finer details required when going into business. Have they done proper forecasting, have they done a proper survey of the area, the competition, the overall landscape of the industry they are going into and most importantly do they truly understand their target market. Entrepreneurs often take a passion and think it will work because they are passionate about what they are doing, but passion doesn’t always lead to success. Being able to understand how business works, how taxes work, accounting, cash flow, finance and how to build the right team that can complement each other to ensure the overall success of the business. These are all elements I have had to learn over the past 20 years and to this day I am still learning.
Running a business at times can require all your time, energy and takes a toll on you emotionally, mentally and physically, imagine adding to those stresses of having a family. As a business owner, I cannot count the number of times I have neglected my friends, my family or missed special occasions all because I was caught up running one of my businesses. Having your own company can often times consume your life and you forget what is important to you. You lose relationships and quickly can find yourself alone, stressed and unhappy.
...I still question if I made the right decisions along with way and if I should have gone to school, got a degree and worked my way up the corporate ladder...
My point in this blog is not to scare anyone from ever attempting to start a business, there are many ups if you can weather the storm. Financial freedom, flexibility, ability to control your own destiny and being able to see the fruits of your labour and your vision come to life. Sometimes it is not about the money but just the satisfaction to see something through successfully. If anything, I want this post to be as real and raw and honest as possible. No successful entrepreneur will tell you it’s easy. There will come days where your integrity is put to the test and things you could not have predicted will pose as obstacles you not only couldn’t expect, but will have to figure out how to navigate your way out of with little time to think. You will question everything and will really have to wrestle with your emotions, but if you can push through it and overcome, the rewards are often unexplainable and unmeasurable.
Sadly not everyone is meant to be cut out for being a business owner. It is the sad and unfortunate reality and most of us do not want to admit we cannot do it. Pride and stubbornness can be our biggest downfall and a good entrepreneur is able to identify this and pivot accordingly. As I sit here at the age of 41 looking back on my 22 years in business, I still question if I made the right decisions along with way and if I should have gone to school, got a degree and worked my way up the corporate ladder, but it doesn’t take long for me to really look back, reassess what I have done, people I have met, experiences I have had and where I am at today in life, and it quickly helps me to snap out of the fact that I would most likely do it all over again (with maybe a few minor revisions).
In closing, owning a business is a mixed bag of emotions and you have to the fortitude to stick through it and be able to identify the holes and fix them, you have to be ready to evolve, pivot and embrace change. Businesses might be owned by the owner(s), but they are run by their team. No good business is run successfully alone.