Being a business owner/manager can be difficult even at the best of times.
All the weight of the world seems to rest on your shoulders, whether you’re self-employed or employing people.
It’s ultimately you who is making the big decisions that affect not only you personally but also, your family and perhaps even your employees’ families.
I’ve spoken to countless business owners who’ve lain awake at night worrying about whether to take the first, or next apparently risky step, in their business and what it might mean for the future and the future employment of their employees too.
Making the big decisions takes its toll and can be a very lonely place to be
I’ve been fortunate to coach many people who are owner/managers of businesses and without a doubt they are some of the most creative, capable people I’ve met and some of the most stressed at the beginning of their coaching journey.
There are a few common situations that I find business owner/managers find themselves in when they turn to a coach and I have some tips for you to help you navigate your journey with less stress and hopefully a bit more fulfilment, success and peace of mind.
When Times Get Tough - Remember Why You Started
Sometimes when you’re under the weight of expectation, competition, service agreements and ever decreasing deadlines it can be easy to wonder if it’s all worthwhile and why you don’t just take an employed role somewhere.
Here are a few of reasons for starting a business that my clients have expressed:
Creative expression - often stifled in larger organisations and given a freer reign if you’re self employed
Freedom and flexibility in life – childcare, older parents, a desire to travel are a lot easier to manage if you are the one making the decisions on where you need to be at any given time. It’s one of the things I personally love the most about being self-employed.
Seeing a better way and not being able to do it in employment – This happens a lot where no matter how hard you try you just can’t get people in an organisation to listen and end up deciding to go in to business to do it yourself. This is where true entrepreneurs come in too – seeing an opportunity and going for it.
Questions To Ask Yourself when You Feel Like Giving Up?
- What reason did you have for starting your business?
- What was the mission you hoped your business would fulfil?
- Would you really be willing to pack it all in and go back to someone else telling you what to do and when to do it?
- Is the situation you’re facing now so insurmountable that you’d walk away from all these benefits to go back to employment?
These questions should help you to reconnect to the motivation and purpose you sought when starting your business and ut's often a good idea to put some visual reminders around you to empower you moving forward.
When Facing Lay Offs You've Got To Look After You - First And Foremost
I mentioned earlier that a lot of the business owners I’ve worked with worry about the impact on others of their actions on others; your family and your employees’ families.
You need to remember that often without you there is no business – especially in smaller businesses and with solopreneurs.
You need to do what is best for you and your loved ones first and foremost.
That can mean laying off people in the short-term or restructuring a business to ensure your income and business continuity.
It’s a very tough decision to make and many business owners dread these decisions but when it comes to your own wellbeing and that of your loved ones – that must come first.
I’ve seen business owners cling on to employees even though the cost of employing them without reciprocal income from that employment dragging the business down through a sense of loyalty.
You cannot feed others from an empty bowl!
Yes, it’s hard but it’s sometimes better to lose one branch than the whole tree.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Facing Lay Offs
- Will this decision be the best for the long-term profitability of the business - and therefor its ability to support me, my loved ones, and my aspirations?
- Am I willing to risk the entire business to maintain a relationship with the employee(s)?
- Is there a possibility that laying off this employee may only be temporary and that I may well be in a better place to employ them in the future?
- Who is ultimately responsible for this employee’s well-being? Once you see that it is their responsibility to look after their own life then decisions about your impact on their lives becomes much easier.
This last question is the most telling. This one insight can help business owners make tough decisions that affect employees.
I’ve been laid off several times and each time I managed to move on to something else and even gone back to work with ex-employers when they needed me again. Yes, I sometimes felt a sense of resentment that I’d put in so much hard work only to be laid off but that was mainly because I’d never been in the employers position and had to make the hard decisions myself. (See my article on Making Redundancy Work For You)
Tips To Help You Decide When Facing An Opportunity
Often people work with me when making big decisions that can affect their business and life in some major way.
It could work out brilliantly or it could go horribly wrong.
Risk is after all the nature of a life in business.
Owner/Manages often seek some form of certainty and model to rationalise their decision-making process when faced with an opportunity and that is where a coach can really help you.
A good coach will help you see the risks and the opportunities and help you to decide if you want to take that leap – not make the decision for you.
Here are a few questions to help you in making what might be perceived a risky decision:
Question To Ask Yourself When Faced With An Opportunity
- What is the motivation behind my possibly taking this opportunity?
- Is that motivation coming from me or some external source?
- Does either side of this decision suit my more principles and values better?
Using the Socratic 4 Quadrants Model
Another fantastic model to use in these decisions is the 4 quadrants window -or questions – that will help you see the consequences on either side of a decision. This is a fantastic model that I use a lot with people seeking to decide whether to set up in business and make the next leap in their existing business.
- What will happen if you do this?
- What will happen if you don’t do this?
- What will NOT happen if you do this?
- What will NOT happen if you DON’T do this?
Guiding my clients through these questions often helps to illuminate their subconscious fears and beliefs and the story that they are telling themselves as they face the decision.
This also helps to bolster the original motivation and help people move towards a better decision rather than staying stuck in a negative status quo.
It’s a great place to start to draw out your thinking and to help you ultimately weigh the scales in one way or the other.
These are just a few scenarios and ways in which I’ve helped clients in their business life and of course there are cross overs into your personal life too to be taken into consideration too.
You might see that the questions could be used in a few of these situations and indeed they can. It is my job to know which question will help you best in gaining clarity and helping you take decisions.
It is not your coach’s job to be the best business mind in the room and tell you what to do but rather to explore what is right for you and your life in business.
Working with a good coach will also help you to maintain balance, discipline, and determination throughout your life in business.
It gives you someone to help you rationalise decisions in a structured way without going round and round in our own ruminations and stories in your head.
And can even put the fun and joy back into your life in business.
If you are ready to start exploring how to have your best life in business the please book a FREE Breakthrough Clarity session with me to sample coaching from me and gain clarity on your next steps and where a coach can help you best.
I'd love you to join me in my free business owners community Life in Business over on Facebook HERE too for great tips, networking and more.