Small Business Advice: The Only One Who Should Run Your Business Is You


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There’s no shortage of good advice for small business owners. There’s no shortage of bad advice either. The internet has provided an explosion of coaches, gurus, consultants, and “experts”. Between them, they’ve produced an aromatic pile that dwarfs the combined lifetime output of every bull who ever ran at Pamplona. How do you sort through all this? You need to remember that you’re the one who should be deciding what your business is, how it grows, and what its goals are. That’s hard to do when you’re constantly bombarded by misconceptions like these.

Grow! Grow! Grow!

A growing business is a healthy business, but growth must be natural and controlled. Plenty of businesses encounter problems, or even fail, because they grow too fast without a firm foundation. It’s better to have one successful location than to have two struggling locations. It’s better to have a stable mid-range income than to burn yourself out while aiming to imitate Donald Trump. If you feel comfortable with your business’ performance and the income it provides, that’s what’s really important. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to go farther just to be a hotshot “entrepreneur”.

Jobs Jobs Jobs

There’s a common belief, especially among politicians, that the purpose of business is to provide jobs. That one needs to be shoveled out of the cowshed. The purpose of a business is to make a profit, and in turn to provide a good living for its owner and a fair pay to only as many employees as are essential to its efficient operation. No business owner should ever feel guilty about that. Yes, everyone should be able to have a job, but you’ll do no one any favors if you go bankrupt because you were overstaffed. While we’re at it, you should never feel guilty about not hiring Cousin Jake because he can’t get his mind off of Farmville long enough to do any real work.

This Is How We Do Business Now

I’ve heard that one from people pushing every new fad for years. Yes, you should keep up with the latest trends and developments, especially in technology. That doesn’t mean you have to buy, try, or fall for everything that bills itself as essential to your continued success. After all, you have to spare some time to actually run your business. The simple truth is that all the new methods and tools available, no matter how useful they are, haven’t changed the basics. We do business today in the same way that a clock manufacturer in 19th century Chicago, a silk merchant in 17th century Marseilles, an innkeeper in 14th century Salisbury, and a silversmith in 2nd century Rome did business; by providing goods and services our customers need or want, at a fair price.

Whose Business Is It Anyway?

It’s your business and don’t you ever forget it. You’re the one who should decide how fast it should grow. You’re the one who should decide how many employees you need and what their duties should be. You’re the one who should decide what your business does, how it operates ( Within legal bounds ), and how big it should be. In the end, your goal for your business is to provide a comfortable life for yourself. Only you can decide how that is defined. Don’t let anyone else do it for you.

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