Do you know, small & medium business owners experience all sorts of hurdles during the lifecycle of their company. Causes like growth (or shrink) of the company, back-office staffing, salesfigures, finance, product development ….. Stress creating and diffusing the daily needed focus on the actual business and – moreover – the challenges of tomorrow.
Recognizable? Then read on please.
Here’s a surprise: Running a business consísts of just these factors. If they were non-existing, the whole world would be doing yóur business, running yóur factory or selling yóur products. It is simply because these hurdles exist, that only a smaller group of people has the guts, the character and the stamina to set up a business, keep it running and – one fine day – gets the glory. May you sometimes feel like Sisyphus, pushing that enormous piece of rock up the mountain at Tartaros and seeing it roll down just before reaching the top, sentenced by the gods to repeat this labour unendingly, remember only you and people like you can do the trick successfully.
But really, you can think of no situation or crisis that did not occur earlier in this worlds’ enterprising landscape or, for that matter, has not been experienced and described somewhere at some time.
This means that, apart from running your business, you háve to develop your entrepreneurial and general knowledge, by reading. Situations you experience today, have been solved ánd described by others yesterday or before that.
Reading books and articles written by experts gets you further and is also cheaper than practicing trial and error, or visiting lectures. Also, reading can be done at moments that suit you, even on holidays.
Experiencing problems or challenges within the company means, that there is always at least one book in which your situation is described in the course of time. Only thing to do is turn the pages to the next chapter(s) and read one or more solutions, as well as the tricks that didn’t work out right. Another thing is to find the right books ofcourse. For the latter, the internet is the most useful source, but talking to others also helps to get you on the right track. Just do not start attending every network chapter in your surroundings. It will cost you too much time, time that you need for activities that really need your physical presence, like at home.
However, it is nowadays impossible and also irresponsible to start or run a business without having or acquiring a minimum amount of theoretical knowledge, or at least having access to it. Decisions have to be taken every hour of the day, in which you cannot just depend on your craftsmans’ skills and intuition. Investments, ideas, pricing, the IoT, negotiations with your banker … all are duties you maybe didn’t look for when starting your business, but they come in the deal, inevitably.
Not so keen on reading yourself? Try to find one or two experienced and trusted people on which you can rely. Pay their fees as they charge them and before all, keep away from friends and family for this specific function. Do not mingle or frighten them with your business-originated headaches. One way or another, you either lose a friend or become the black sheep in the family. Consultants have to be just that, consultants. Hired (or fired) on the basis of their knowledge and results, with no emotional strings attached. Don’t be mean, but keep it clean!
Also, your banker or accountant is not fit for this function, they have other specialities and other interests. As my father always told me: ‘Hand the company over to an accountant and it’s the end of innovation, and sales too.’
About bankers, well, they have had their bit of attention in the past few years.
You need someone with a reasonable distance to your markets, the typical hands-on guy (or girl) with the famous helicopterview, but with mud on the boots and a kind of rugged approach. Honest and direct in style of communication. By the way, the female advisor has my preference. Women tend to look different at things, people or situations and can open your eyes to subjects you might until then have overlooked. Refreshing to have them around in a world dominated by machismo! Ofcourse, the other way round, when you are a woman, try to find out what the male view can do to assist you.
Anyway, I prefer reading but I’m far from dyslectic, which can be another hurdle in your professional development. If the reading goes allright, buy that book / those books and keep a yellow marker at the ready, supposing you prefer the ‘old skool’ paper version like I do.
If reading tires you even more than facing all the daily challenges, find that advisor and get some help. If you – for some reason – don’t, you’ll put your company in peril and hence the means of existence of your associates and their families.
Wishing you lots of wisdom and a bit of luck, too.
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