Watch Out for Problem Areas
As a small business owner, you’ll have to work hard to meet your goals. It takes a lot of determination and drive to make things happen. As a result, you may focus so completely on the immediate goals at hand that you lose sight of the larger picture. Recognizing that you don’t know everything is a good first step toward business success. If you’re unsure of yourself in any particular area, please take advantage of the advice and help that is there for the asking. That way, you’re less likely to be sabotaged by something you didn’t know and didn’t know you didn’t know.
It’s Lonely at the Top
As a business owner, you often make decisions in a vacuum. Most of the time you won’t have immediate peers who understand your business and can also offer you good, dispassionate advice. Probably you have to go it alone, and that can be pretty tough.
You and your business become targets for an army of job-seekers, government regulators, charities, competitors, consultants, salespeople, insurance brokers, and so forth. All these people have their own goals and objectives, which may or may not coincide with yours. As a matter of survival, you must become skeptical about what people claim they can do for you or your business. This isn’t necessarily either bad or good, it’s just the way things are. You are the only one who can decide what is good for your business
Anticipate Problems Before They Arise
Things always go wrong in business. Your job is to notice troubles and problems before they become major hurdles. If you don’t notice the mistake until others tell you about the unfortunate results, it may be too late for an easy, inexpensive cure. If your business is like most, you’ll spend some time every day creating solutions to problems. But, if you don’t like playing detective and prefer sailing along on smooth waters so much that you don’t see the first signs of storms, you may have a problem surviving for long.
You May Be the Problem and Not the Solution
To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often. (John Henry Newman, as quoted in First Data Resources ad in Credit Card Management, January 1992, Volume 4, Number 10.) Unfortunately, most people aren’t very good at analyzing their own strengths and weaknesses objectively and then changing their behavior to compensate. They just go ahead doing what they’ve always done, regardless of the outcome
Plan Beyond Opening Day
To illustrate the importance of planning for the operation of your business after it opens, I’d like to share the experiences of Molly, a friend and former student, who wanted to open a bath supply shop. Molly encountered a long series of depressing obstacles on the way to getting the money to open her business. But since she was both stubborn and a fighter, each setback made her even more determined.