There are many reasons why people start their own business: The entrepreneurial spirit, the desire to make a difference, the dislike of working for someone else. There are probably as many reasons as there are business owners.
As business owners there are common traits that you all possess. Some, but not all, are self-belief, determination, perseverance and ambition. It is also likely that you have/had a core skill, or an insight into a market need that came from your experience in your work, that gave you the confidence to start a business; but one thing is for sure – you didn’t start your business because you had a burning desire to manage people.
You may have had an understanding that to achieve your ambitions it is a necessary step along the path but it wasn’t you’re primary motivation.
In my time in the commercial world I have spoken to hundreds of business owners and managers and there is one common thread; when I ask what is the hardest thing they have to do there is one common denominator: manage people.
This might be people on the inside (employees) or it could be people outside of the business (e.g. customers and suppliers).
Unfortunately as the business owner there is only one place that buck stops and that is with you.
(For what it’s worth I have been a business owner with employees and I speak from personal experience)
It is very easy to get into what I call the Business Owner Blind-spot (BOB). This is when your business is not going where you want it to, as fast as you want or delivering the results you want. It sounds terrible but many businesses can run like this for years.
Here are 5 symptoms that you are in this blind spot:-
1. You find yourself saying “Why is it always up to me?” This is the feeling that your people are not helping you by using their initiative to help sort out the inevitable problems that surface in a business.
2. You feel like you are working for your employees and not the other way around.
3. You don’t feel able to take that holiday you need and want.
4. You feel that you have to take personal control and do not have confidence in your people.
5. You never have enough time to do all the things you want to do.
These are common symptoms not only among business owners but also among corporate managers.
(For what it’s worth I have also lived in the corporate world having spent 20 years with large organisations so I can speak from personal experience here as well)
The difference between a large corporation and a smaller business is quite often their view about personal development and the resource they are prepared to invest in it. Personal development is often seen as and referred to as the soft skills. This is the biggest irony in business life because it is only personal development that provides us with the tools and techniques that we need to be able to manage our people effectively and to stop people management being seen as the hardest aspect of running a business.
So; if you ever feel that any of the 5 symptoms apply to you then your first point of call is you. It is time to consider your own personal development.
My next blog will cover the difference between professional and personal development.