Sunday, April 10, 2011

Owning/Operating A Business . . . No Wimps Allowed


“I want to own my own business one day.”
Becoming a business owner seems to be a common vision and goal for many people. In fact, it is possibly the most typical “American dream.”
The voices begin speaking in the heads of young entrepreneurs with convincing arguments:
There is no better way to go. YOU can be the final voice finding solutions to the problems. YOUR voice WILL be heard. You can simply go in to the office and solve them all. Being your own boss is the best way. You do what you want when you want and what you say goes. No one will be telling you what you can and cannot do. You can decide if you make more or less money as well as for those who work for you.

Who wouldn’t want this life . . . right?

I owned a commercial business with employees, lease payments and such for over seven years. I quickly learned that the convincing voices who were encouraging how easy and great owning a business would be . . . LIED.
Unfortunately, there is not a school designed specifically for becoming a successful, happy business owner. Each brave/naïve soul must acquire his/her education by attending regular, ongoing classes at, “The University of Life . . . “
My “college” education did not come from a university with a diploma, but from lifetime experiences. Since no one in my family had ever owned a business, I unknowingly jumped in with my eyes as open as possible . . . However, I closed them a lot. Owning a business is exactly like getting on a roller coaster; only it is a much longer ride and you scream more.
My tuition was paid in the form of trial and error instead of to a facility. I can proudly say I most likely made it through Harvard or Yale . . . possibly twice. The homework was done in the form of hours trying to figure out how to fit a square peg in a round hole. The difference was that the “papers” were turned it in to the IRS instead of a professor. Business management, marketing, psychology and accounting classes would have probably helped, but I discovered that a little too late.
All business owners experience:
·        money management (or juggling)
·        delegating; problem solving
·        client relations; employee relations
·        making money; deciding when/where to spend money
·        putting “feelings” aside
·        lack of sleep
·        giving your all to people, even those who do not appreciate or even recognize it
·        being positive when you feel negative
·        motivating and encouraging people when YOU need it
·        having to take responsibility for the actions of others who work under your roof
·        taking trash out that someone else filled
·        cleaning a HUGE mess (AKA: pee and poop) left by someone else in and/or on the toilet (gotta love this one)
·        being held personally responsible when the water, electricity or phones stop working as though it is your fault.

Welcome to the world of

It is easy to wonder, “What the **** was I thinking? I would not wish this on my worst enemy.”
One does not always necessarily choose to be a business owner, it chooses him/her. Typically, and in my case, one knows it can be done and the actual business is not there; so, there is no choice but to create it. The entrepreneur usually has no idea what this other world holds.
He headed down that road that looked really clear; then, the clouds and heavy rain come causing a distorted and unclear vision. When the rain let up, he realized he was on a mountainous back road with no 4 wheel drive . . . not a good thing. There is no option except to keep on keeping on and figure out a way to make it work. It is similar to being a parent. You have NO CLUE what lies ahead until it becomes part of your life. No one can verbally tell you. You HAVE to live it to understand.
Contrary to how this may sound, my experience was not ALL bad. However, as I place the good and bad on the scales of happiness . . . I’d rather not do it again. The ONLY reason I can see that makes sense of it all is: “It is a chance to make a difference in the world.”
We all have that opportunity everyday, but as a direct leader, it is more profound. It is a chance to create a positive environment for yourself and others to work. And provide a place for someone to make a living to support his family. That will make it all worth while when one wonders what he was doing.

A few skills to brush up on before taking the plunge:

  • When asked, “How are you?” Simply say, “UNBELIEVABLE!!” That covers ALL categories and stays positive!
  • NEVER expect it to get easy. One will adjust and adapt, but the same problems exist in all businesses. “People” make things harder and there will never be a day when people stop acting like people. Most businesses require people involvement.
  • Make a choice when STARTING a business . . . or friendship/relationship for that matter. “Do I want to surround myself with victims or survivors?” Victims want to talk about and focus on how life has dealt bad cards and knocked them down. He/she will make EVERYTHING someone else’s fault (probably yours if you are the owner) and laziness usually comes with it too; not good work ethic qualities. Get ready for the undisciplined and unmotivated person to explain how he has “way too much to do” or “does not have enough to do.” If someone says, “I am bored,” they are actually saying, “I am BORING.” If one cannot think of anything to do to occupy his own mind, no need to waste time helping him. You are already occupying one mind . . . your own.


I have no idea when I wrote this, but I am no longer a “commercial business owner.” THANK YOU GOD.
My deepest respect and compassion to those who are, but no envy is there. I have learned so much; things I will never forget. Likely, for me, the greatest being about relationships and people. I was disillusioned, thinking the people who worked for and with me saw and loved me as I did them ... like family. Not the case ... Bringing new meaning to the saying, "It's lonely at the top."
    I now have a deep respect for those in leadership and see them in a new light. The fishbowl they swim in is not always fun. I still “swim,” but it is in the ocean where very few can view my swimming techniques or where I swim!
Presidents of companies, the country . . . principals, pastors, doctors, lawyers, teachers, chiefs,  judges, and so on, along with every business owner . . . Sadly, nothing you ever do will be approved of and seen as “right” by all. Just do the best you can for as long as you can endure it and then join me in admiring the next brave (or naïve) person who steps into such a role.
We have to have leaders, but we have to have people who have BEEN leaders to understand what they are going through. That is my new role.

Signing no one's check and happy about it,
© 2008

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