Being a business owner has its rewards and its challenges. If you’ve been in business longer than a hot second, you’ve likely experienced both. Often the freedoms override the dissatisfaction, but if you find that the negatives are wearing on you, don’t get discouraged. The earlier you recognize the most common challenges of business ownership, the more likely you’ll be able to take them in stride.
This is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a business owner and it will color all areas of your business. The first challenge for most businesses when it comes to hiring is deciding when it’s time to hire the first employee or grow past the first employee.
After you make that decision to add headcount, deciding who that person will be is your next big challenge. If you hire poorly, you’ll be doing it again soon, or worse, it will affect morale if you already have more than one employee.
Tips for hiring well: know what you want and what you need in the position. Know the difference between both. Be logical in understanding what’s required of the position and whether the candidate has what it takes. Be honest about the job and its challenges, especially if you’re one of them.
Making Time for Yourself or Your Family
The problem with finding what you love and opening a business that helps you follow your passion is that you often don’t see it as work and you’ll spend an absurd amount of time thinking about it, dreaming of new idea, and planning next steps for your business. Even if you don’t feel like you need time for yourself, there are likely family and/or friends who want to see you.
Small business owners often neglect themselves and their loved ones because they are singularly focused on achieving success. Unlike working for someone else, when the success relies solely on you (at least in the beginning), it’s hard not to be obsessed with it.
Tips for making time for yourself (or at least those who love you): balance is essential in everything. Even if you’re enjoying yourself and don’t think of your work as work and you enjoy it, there are people in your life who want to spend time with you. It’s in your best interest to make sure your loved ones get that.
Schedule time to be with them as if it were an important meeting with your biggest client. One PR consultant I know promises to be home to the family every night by six so they can have dinner together. Her family knows they have her undivided attention for three hours. If she needs to go back to work after that, she does. But she never allows anything to take the place of those important hours.
Figure out what parts of your day work for you and then don’t schedule anything else for that time….ever.
Staying on Top of Your Industry and Tech
When you work for someone else, you likely have a manager giving you ideas for professional growth. Your company may pay for you to attend valuable conference sessions each year. They may purchase association and chamber memberships for you.
But when you are the business owner, there’s no one telling you what to stay on top of or what skills to develop in order to stay competitive. You have to decide that for yourself and find ways to accomplish this with your already full schedule.
Tips for continuing education and professional development: There are plenty of online options like Lynda and Udemy to take courses in areas of interest. You can also join the chamber and partake in their lunch and learns or other educational opportunities. Follow a few blogs in your areas of interest and read their posts over coffee every morning. Set up a Twitter account and follow people in your industry. You can use that social network as a way to scan what people are talking about in your niche.
If you’re a small business owner there are a lot of freedoms to enjoy and challenges to navigate. If you’re able to master these most common ones, you’ll be in a good position to take on additional obstacles as they surface.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.