Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Business Owner?
For a lot of people, there are few things more exciting than the idea of starting their own business. After all, so many of us end up getting stuck in a boring, dead-end, nine-to-five job that doesn’t offer any real opportunities to do anything interesting or exciting. Not only that but you often find yourself working under a manager who both doesn’t respect you or appreciate the work you’re doing, and who you feel like you could easily do a much better job than. Of course, things really aren’t as simple as just being able to look at your career and decide that you want to go and start your own business, it’s a whole lot more complicated than that. For one thing, you need to know what you actually want to do. But even beyond that, the truth is that not everyone is necessarily cut out to be a business owner. With that in mind, here are some things that you need in order to be sure that you’ve got what it takes to be a truly great business owner.
You need to have a plan
The first thing that any business owner needs is a plan. When you’re in the early stages of setting up any kind of business, it’s often very easy to just want to dive right in head first and get started. This is a pretty understandable impulse but it’s really not the right way to go about it. If you do, you’re just going to end up falling into bad habits and making mistakes, both of which could potentially ruin your business or at least take a great deal of time to fix. Instead, you need to make sure that you have at least some kind of plan in place for your business. You need a plan for what you want your business to be, what your long and short term goals are, and how you’re going to make all of these things a reality. There are a whole lot of fantastic business plan templates online that you can use as a jumping off point for your business. The key is to be patient and not to dive head first into things before you’re fully prepared.
You need to be motivated
One of the strangest things that a lot of people come across when they start running their own business is that it can often feel kind of strange being the one in charge. Most people start their own business because they want to be the one in charge and yet when they’re actually faced with it, it can often be a lot scarier and more difficult than they imagined. A big part of this comes down to the fact that most of us spend our entire careers being told what to do by someone else. Sure, you’re often encouraged to take the initiative as an employee, but you’ve always got deadlines overhead and managers breathing down your neck. However, when you’re running a business yourself all of that disappears. Suddenly you’re the one making the deadlines and trying to keep everyone on track. This is something that you can only do if you’re able to be self-motivated and keep pushing even when things get tough. When the buck stops with you it’s sometimes easy to feel like you need to take a break but if that happens then the whole business grinds to a halt. You need to make sure that you’re the one who is always pushing the business forward as much as possible.
You need to be a leader
One of the challenges that a lot of people really don’t see coming is the fact that, when you’re the owner of a business, that’s not all you are. The moment that you bring employees into your business you’re not just the owner of the business, you’re the leader as well. The harsh reality is that those are two very different skills. Being a business owner is about understanding the concrete elements of your business, the numbers, the facts. However, being a leader is about being able to connect with people. Being able to take the hard stuff in your business and communicate it to your employees takes more than just cold numbers. To put it very simply: you need to be a people person. Now, this is not something that a lot of people are especially comfortable with but it really isn’t something that you can avoid. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your leadership skills. The best and most obvious is something like an online bachelors degree in organizational leadership. That way you’re going to be able to develop all of the skills that you need to really be the leader your business needs. There are also plenty of great books, articles, talks, and blog posts out there offering a huge amount of leadership guidance.
You need to do your research
If you want to run a successful business then you need to understand what it is that makes a business successful in the first place. The only way that you can do that is by doing your research and learning from the businesses around you. It’s often easy to feel like you understand your business perfectly and you just need to listen to your gut but the reality is that that’s not the case. You need to be learning all of the time if you want to keep your business on the cutting edge. From understanding new technology to being aware of new trends in customer behavior. It’s a lot of work but that’s just part of what you signed up for when you decided to start your own business.
You need to understand your limitations
As much as you will need to take onto your shoulders as a business owner, one of the most important things for you to learn is that you are not perfect and you cannot be everywhere at once. Business owners who refuse to accept this fact almost always end up in a position where they either burn out or they drag their business down entirely. The truth is that that simply are things that you will not be able to do as well as your business needs you to and often the key to that is to outsource those areas of your business to other companies. Whether it’s accounting, marketing, recruitment, or anything else, outsourcing areas of your business can be one of the most important things that any business owner can do. Companies like Apple were able to be as successful as they are partly because they outsourced the construction of the iPhones. That meant that they were able to focus their efforts into things like branding which has proven to be a winning strategy for them.
You need to listen to your employees
Your employees are the lifeblood of your business and there really is no denying just how important they are. However, a lot of business owners make the mistake of assuming that they always know better than their employees. After all, you’re at the top of the business, you see everything that’s going on, right? Well, not quite. The truth is that your employees have a fundamentally different perspective on your business than you do. You might have the bird’s-eye view but they’re the ones in the trenches getting up close and personal with your business. That gives them a perspective that is essential to you and the success of your business as a whole.
You need to embrace failure
You will fail. That’s something that you need to get used to right now. It might sound a little harsh but it’s true and there’s no sense shielding yourself from the facts. Every business owner has to deal with failure, often quite a lot. The difference between the truly great business owners and everyone else is how they respond to that failure. Instead of giving up, you need to take that failure and learn from it. Use it to come back stronger and wiser than ever.
This might all seem like there is a great deal on your shoulders as a business owner and the truth is that there is. Running any kind of business is something that no one should take on lightly. Now, this is not an attempt to steer you away from starting your own business or to say that it’s something you can’t do. It’s just that it’s a far better idea to understand the challenges involved going forward before you make any commitments than it is to realize that you’re in over your head and end up falling at the first hurdle. Running a business is one of the hardest things that you could possibly do with your life, but it’s also one of the most incredible and rewarding. The key is being able to understand whether or not the balance between those two things is worth it for you and if you have the skills you need to create that balance for yourself.