When you decided to follow your dream and start your own business, if you are like most entrepreneurs you will have been looking forward to flexible working on your terms, more quality time with your family, holidays in abundance and a lot more money to live the lifestyle you wanted.
The reality is though for many that dream can end up being frustratingly allusive. Small business owners often fall into the trap of working more hours than they did as an employee, earning less money and struggle to create the balance and the lifestyle they wanted.
What they actually find is that instead of building a business, in fact they have just bough themselves a less well paid and more stressful job!
Here are 10 signs that your small business needs a change in strategy so that you can start living your entrepreneurial dream:
1. You regularly work 7 days a week
If you find your self working 7 days a week for prolong periods of time, it’s not going to be long until you start to really resent your business and you’ll probably reach burn out.
If you have got caught up in the daily whirlwind of your business and are struggling to see another viable way of doing things, it’s time to take some time out to work “on your business” and not just “in your business”.
2. You find yourself getting cranky with your family for no reason
If your business is not operating as smoothly as it could be, there’s a good chance this is causing you some stress and you may find yourself taking out your frustrations on those that are closest to you; your family.
If you find yourself resenting taking your kids out for the afternoon or snapping at your partner over things you wouldn’t normally, it may be an indication that you need a bit of an overhaul on your work/life balance.
3. You often feel overwhelmed
When you think about where your business is heading and what you need to do to get there, you get a feeling of overwhelm that waves over you and that causes you to feel paralysed.
You might be able to see the big picture but can’t figure out the steps to get there or you may be so lost in the detail of your day to day that you can’t clearly see where you need to go next. You feel stuck.
4. You haven’t had a holiday in years
Despite wanting to live the entrepreneurial dream, holidays are just that; a dream. You can barely remember the last time you took a week off or much longer than a weekend.
If you still want to do that big trip to Europe or sail round the Caribbean then it’s time to start making your business work for you.
5. You do everything in your business
You are the bookkeeper, sales person, marketer, CEO, administrator, technician, digital marketer and cleaner. You might be good at delivering your services but you are yet to truly master the other important areas of your business.
Running your business in this way will be stunting your growth, limit your ability to scale up and puts a lot of strain on your shoulders while you are trying to be everything to everyone all of the time.
It might be time to look at cost effective ways you can delegate so you can start focusing more time on what earns your business money.
6. If you are not there you are not earning any money
If your business grinds to a halt and stops earning money every time you are on holiday, have a day off, or are sick then it’s unlikely you will ever fully live your entrepreneurial dream.
Time for a rethink and make your business work for you whether you are there or not.
7. Your employees earn more money than you do
If you look at your payroll each month and realise that your drawings or salary is less than your employees, it’s time to reassess your business plan.
As a business owner you take all of the risk, therefore in turn you should be receiving reward. There are a number of factors that can be at play here that must be looked at including the prices you are charging, how much you are paying in salaries, what tasks you are delegating out and a whole lot more.
8. You don’t have a steady flow of leads coming into your business
When you set your business up did you think that you’d get your website up and running and that customers would just come and find you? If you did then you are not alone this is a popular misconception and marketing unfortunately doesn’t start and end with your website; it’s just one part of a much bigger strategy.
If you haven’t spoken to a new lead for a while then it’s time to start looking at a different way to approach your marketing.
9. Your customers don’t stay
You can find new customers but they don’t stay around long, so you are contently spending time and money finding new ones.
If so you may need to shift your focus and your strategy to nurture the ones you have.
10. Your business isn’t growing
Your turn over has been the same for the last few years or may even have dropped and you are feeling stuck. You feel unsure about how take it to the next level. Costs are going up each year and when your revenue isn’t, it’s slowly eating away at the profits you were making.
Stagnated growth is a sure sign that your business needs a change in strategy.
It’s important to remember that the thinking or strategy that has created the challenges you face now, is not the thinking or strategies that are going to fix it. It’s time to do things differently and often that means you’ll need to gain a fresh perspective.
To book your complimentary strategy session, simply email Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org with the title “Fresh Perspective”
As well as being a Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA) and ex-CFO with over 20 years experience, she has also worked extensively with small and medium sized business owners to help them grow profitable businesses.
She's also a certified coach, NLP practitioner, Metadynamics TM Consultant and contributor for Kochie’s Business Builders.
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