If you're like many people, you often fantasize about handing in your notice at your corporate job and starting the business you've been dreaming of for years. Although the life of a successful entrepreneur can be fulfilling and exciting, it also typically involves negative aspects with the potential to seriously decrease your quality of life. For instance, you'll say goodbye to evenings, weekends, holidays, family outings, sleep, and the security that comes from having a steady paycheck and a traditional routine. In return, you might just make it as an entrepreneur and join the ranks of those who believe that the sacrifices they made on their way to the top were worth it.
No one should start a new business without considering everything that may possibly go wrong and without giving the matter a substantial amount of serious thought. Following are just six of the many questions you should ask yourself if you're thinking about starting a business.
Are You Willing to Take a Significant Financial Risk?
Those who quit their jobs to start their own businesses run the risk of ending up with nothing. Sometimes, just the thought of losing it all paralyzes fledgling entrepreneurs to the extent that they can't effectively manage their new businesses. If you aren't temperamentally suited for the inherent risks involved in being an independent business owner, you may be better off sticking with the security of a corporate job.
Do You Have Trouble Making Decisions?
Private business owners need to have superior decision-making skills. If they don't, they run the risk of being left in the dust by the competition as industry trends evolve and change. Those who have trouble making decisions often end up doing nothing and causing their businesses to stagnate as a result of their inaction.
Do You Suffer From Depression or Anxiety?
Those who suffer from depression or anxiety don't necessarily have to cross starting their own business off their bucket list. However, if you experience one or both of these conditions, consider getting therapy for the purpose of developing the tools you'll need for managing them while simultaneously dealing with the emotional and mental demands of owning and operating a successful business.
Do You Shoulder Substantial Personal Obligations?
If you've got a mortgage to pay and a spouse and family to support, you may be better off waiting until the children are out of the house before moving forward with your business plans. Starting a new business involves considerable financial risk, but it also takes precious time and energy away from family life. Keep in mind that the time business owners must spend to find new customers takes time away from all other activities.
Do You Wear Several Hats With Ease?
Starting your own business means you'll need to be prepared to handle every role involved in business operations. Sometimes, this means mopping the floor, washing the windows, and cleaning the bathroom. At one time or another, you'll find yourself pinch-hitting for every cog in the wheel of your business — often on the spur of the moment when an employee fails to show up for work.
Do You Often Act on a Whim?
If you have a tendency to act on impulse, you should work on learning how to curb it before making a solid commitment to owning and operating your own business. Many entrepreneurs have lost everything as the result of acting on the wrong whim at the wrong time.
Keep in mind that even though starting your own business may not be in the cards at this point in your life, it still may be a viable option at a future date. For instance, perhaps your children will be grown and out of the house in a few years, and you'll have more time and money to devote to nurturing your business. It could also be that you're emotionally and mentally ready to go out on your own right now but need to save up enough start-up cash to ensure that your business has the best possible chance of thriving.
Another scenario is that owning and operating your own business really isn't the best option no matter where you're at in your life. Although being your own boss definitely makes good daydreaming material, the reality is often quite different from the dream.
Even the most successful entrepreneurs lack motivation at times. After running a business for years, it is easy to forget why you care or what you want to accomplish. When this happens, the best thing you can do is slow down and reevaluate your current position. You may also feel like giving up when it seems like everything is going wrong with your company.
Sometimes, all it takes is finding a new approach. A new marketing approach through traffic generation tools or a new search engine optimization (SEO) campaign could be all it takes to become enthusiastic about work again. With a few adjustments and a new focus, you can get excited about running your company and achieve your true potential.
Accept Struggles and Challenges
When everything seems to be going wrong, it is easy to get disheartened. This happens to every business owner at some point. You have to expect struggles and challenges to occur along the way. Long ago, Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple. Instead of pitying himself for being fired from his own company, he got back to work and was eventually re-hired. Problems are always going to happen, but it is how you deal with them that determines your success as an entrepreneur.
Connect With Like-Minded Entrepreneurs
Most likely, your problems are not completely new. Entrepreneurs have faced similar tax issues, management dilemmas, and growth pains for years. Instead of losing hope, spend more time connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs.
This technique works on a couple of levels. Initially, connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs will help you learn how to solve problems. Whether you need to learn more about effective lead generation or develop a new social media technique, other entrepreneurs have experienced the same issues and can help. They can also be a vital resource. Over time, your business network could be a source of new vendors, customers, and employees.
Reconnect With Your Goals
Sometimes, the reason why you want to give up is that you do not care anymore. You lose track of the reasons why you started your business in the first place, so everything seems meaningless. If this is the problem, take some time to reevaluate your goals. Why do you care about your company? What makes you excited to get up in the morning?
Assess Your Current Strategy
When nothing seems to be going right, it is easy to lose heart. By finding a better strategy, you can discover a new motivation and feel excited about going to work each day. If you feel too stuck in a rut to change your approach, a business consultant can always help you redesign your company's strategy and mission.
Evaluate Your Toolbox
Have you tried using pay-per-click (PPC) ads or other SEO tools to bring in new clients? Are you using the right training program for your sales team? Is your lead generation website actually bringing in leads?
If you are not marketing or managing your company effectively, it is easy to get depressed about your business. Your business is a success or failure based on how well you run it. No one is completely perfect, so do not be surprised if you have to make some changes along the way. You may need to adjust the way you train your employees, find employees with new skills, market differently, or offer a different product line. Take some time to figure out which tools you need to change, get rid of, or adopt.
Remember That the Right Marketing Tools Matter
Marketing is one of the best ways to grow your business. Smart companies do more than rely on word-of-mouth sales. Instead, they actively look for effective lead generation techniques like PPC ads, a lead generation website, or social media posts. The average person researches a company online before they even consider going into a brick-and-mortar store. If you do not have an online strategy, you need to change your approach.
When a business owner feels like giving up, it is generally because their business is not successful. At a basic level, a successful business is a company that brings in more revenue than it spends. With a new marketing strategy, you can expand your company and find new customers. This allows you to grow your business. Your marketing techniques can also help you increase your lifetime customer value so that you get the most out of each dollar.
It is normal to feel like giving up sometimes, but you can change your situation. Take some time to reevaluate what your company is doing well and what you need to change. Soon, you will find your enthusiasm again as you transform your business into a successful enterprise.
In this age of digital transformations, successful businesses still count employees as their greatest assets. Taking good care of the people who deal with clients is the business model that aviation giant Southwest Airlines pioneered decades ago and that companies such as PointB, Hyland, and O.C. Tanner still use to stay competitive. One of the best ways to show your employees that you care about their well-being and work style is to support remote working. Allowing employees to work remotely gives them more control of their most valued asset, which is time. Here are five ways that your company can benefit from remote work options.
#1 Hire the Best Worker for the Job…Fast
When you’re growing a business, you want to attract the best person for every available job. However, many times hiring managers must settle for the best person for the position who lives near the job site. In these cases, companies that offer telecommuting job opportunities for exciting projects have carved out a distinct competitive advantage over a business that must rely solely on a local workforce.
A company that has telecommuting jobs attracts talent from a wider pool of applicants. Suppose you find the ideal hiring candidate for an important position. She has a unique and valuable skill set but lives in another state. She’s excited about the opportunity with your company; you can hear the enthusiasm in her voice. She’s even willing to move for the job. If your company allows employees to telecommute, you could be the first to make her a competitive job offer that doesn’t include an expensive relocation package.
#2 Greater Employee Productivity
While in-person collaboration among team members has it merits for bolstering company culture and comradery, this type of work environment can be rife with distractions that reduce productivity. This is especially true for employees who do mostly analytical tasks. Allowing them to work from home gets them away from water-cooler gossip, office politics, and impromptu reviews about last night’s episode of Dancing with the Stars. With the right technology in place for telecommuting, a company experiences increased productivity from its workforce.
Work from home jobs also give employees more control over their time. Many people do their best work in the mornings, but others get revved up after noon. When their schedules are clear of company meetings, they are free to work earlier in the mornings or later in the evenings. This perk becomes increasingly important to workers who are also responsible for taking young children to daycare services or chauffeuring aging parents to doctor’s appointments.
#3 Talent Retention
Everyone wants to know that they are part of a winning team. An organization that successfully implements remote work opportunities appears to be agile and poised to meet anything that the market brings its way. This type of innovative work environment, which is characterized by efficiency and high-performing distributed teams, retains talent.
Besides gaining a reputation for modern work practices, a company that incorporates telecommuting opportunities into its operations empowers its top employees to engage with customers beyond traditional office hours. As your employees plan customized client support activities, their sense of personal fulfillment rises along with customer satisfaction.
#4 Good Way to Go Green
Although hybrid cars do a lot to cut society’s use of fossil fuels, they still don’t fit into many household budgets at this time. Rideshare programs reduce the number of cars on the roads and pollution in the air, but they don’t afford the schedule flexibility that most people need for starting and ending their workdays. Software tools make it easy for employees to work from home and cut their fuel use and emissions output.
#5 Lower Overhead Costs
With a remote team of workers, a company can lower its operating costs. It will require less electricity, office space, housekeeping, and maintenance. Your company will also need fewer middle managers when it uses remote teams for its projects; you can reposition these team leaders to provide greater value to your customers.
When a company decides to treat people like adults and allow its employees to telecommute, it’s basically telling current staff and future workers that they are trusted. In this business environment, star performers shine brighter and mediocre members often rise to the occasion to be counted worthy of the trust they’ve been given. The results are happier clients, which are the basis for long-term growth in any industry.