Your Business is Either Expanding or Contracting, It’s Never Stable!gary
You have to stay on the ball, be proactive and not just reactive and it can seem very scary when you first start up. From my own experience I’d find that some days were really quiet giving me a horrible, lurching panicking feelings of “that’s it, business has dried up” and the next day, or week things would be really busy again. I’ve been running my own businesses now for almost 30 years and I still worry that maybe tomorrow, no one will walk through the door, or the telephone won’t ring. For some people and I’m certainly one of them, this is a good thing or at least a necessary evening and in fact some of the UK’s top business leaders such as Alan Sugar have said that often it’s the fear of failure. that drives them forward. Having said all that. This doesn’t always make for a comfortable existence!
One thing that may help to keep your stress levels down slightly when you start-up is to remember that although it may seem counter-intuitive, for most people having your own business is usually safer than working for someone. Being employed can seem safer as generally you turn up and do your 40 hours a week, then at the end of every month you get a warm glow inside as your wages appear in your bank account. The problem is that in most cases you only see your tiny little bit of the overall firms health. For many years there was no more steady job than working for a bank, but the reality for thousands of high street banks financial advisers didn’t hit home until they got the 90 day notice that their job was about to disappear in order to keep profits high, or in some cases just to keep them bank trading.
Working for yourself however means you can see exactly how the business is doing, good or bad and although this may seem very nerve wracking on occasions at least the knowledge gives you the opportunity to do something about it if things begin to slide, whether that’s increasing your marketing, looking at new products to add to your portfolio or simply putting more hours in to achieve the profit levels you need or desire.
Getting back to the first sentence of this article, it always helped me to imagine my business as a millstone that I was pushing up a hill “definitely not the same as a millstone around your neck”. Difficult to get moving, things get easier once the Rock is rolling and in most areas you can speed up or slow down as you wish or in reaction to market forces without too much trouble. Once the millstone stops completely however it’s always more of an effort to get it going again and if it starts to roll back down that hill you might find yourself running flat out just to catch up with it and stop the decline. The moral of this story which applies to start-ups in most areas of business, not just financial services is for the first year when you’re climbing that hill, just put your head down and keep on pushing,