Exploring Business Ownership – Traditional Employment is Not Risk-Free (Part 4 of 7)

In previous articles we’ve talked about the personality types that have the best chance of business ownership success and helped you define your goals for wanting to be in business. Now we’ll explore how entrepreneurs, franchise owners, and employees generally think. Where will you find a match?

How You Think Vs Your Risk Tolerance

As I’ve shared previously, business success is far from guaranteed so it’s important that you assess your tolerance for risk before committing funds to any business venture. One very general way to assess your risk tolerance is by analyzing the way you think.

Generally speaking, there are three main ways to earn income in increasing order of personal risk; employment, franchise ownership, and entrepreneur business ownership. We’ll explore each to see which you identify best with.

The World of Employment

Employee think is:

I did what I was supposed (or told) to do and I can prove it.

If you’re most comfortable with a narrowly defined set of responsibilities, expect your desk (or tools or equipment) to be provided for you, want to call the IT department when your computer hangs up, crave regular working hours with paid vacation and holidays, and expect benefits paid by someone else, then you’ll probably be most comfortable in an employment situation.

When employment is a good fit you feel most comfortable when you do your part as a team member and leave the business consequences of your work assignment to others. If this describes you, take heart! There’s absolutely no shame in being an employee! In fact, most of the business world is made up of employees who willingly do their part and receive a fixed hourly or salary income in return.

Traditionally employment has also had the least amount of risk for loss of income, although that’s becoming less true. For several decades following World War II there was an unwritten social contract between large corporations (and even many smaller businesses) and their employees that went something like this:

If you come to work with us and work hard, then you are welcome to stay with our company as long as you like. We will retrain our loyal employees to take on new tasks and responsibilities because they are our most valuable asset. We will take care of you with good benefits and if you stay with us long enough we will also provide for your retirement.

Contrast that historic practice with the current social norm of viewing employees as a commodity to be hired when needed and laid off when not.

Risk Assessment

Employment and depending on others for income who may not have your best personal or career interests at heart carries the least risk of the three income earning options. But it’s not risk-free and is far more risky now than it used to be. Let me suggest the book The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences, by Louis Uchitelle, for further reading (I have no financial interest in this book).

Didn’t identify with “employee think?” Check out part 5 where we’ll explore how franchise owners think.

7 Key Steps in Transitioning to Business Ownership

The key question is why some businesses fail and others succeed. This is a debatable question and there are many opinions on this subject. However, I believe the core of the problem lies in the inability to develop good business habits from the onset of the transition into business ownership.

Too many people jump into business without fully understanding the level of involvement required to run a successful business. A common mistake, often made, is miscalculating the volume of effort needed and the resilience required to manage the ups and downs of business ownership. The bottom line is that those who are not mentally prepared for the journey of transition will have difficulties with business management and growth.

Here are 7 important steps to consider in transitioning to business ownership:

  1. Develop a business plan from the inception of the business all the way to the exit strategy. The best way to begin the process is to start with a vision which is often the big picture outlook. You can go about this by writing down everything you want to achieve. Consider this exercise the playground of ideas and exploration; a place where you have emptied all your toys to get a clear picture of what’s available in order to contemplate your next move.
  2. Take an inventory of your skills and abilities. Understand your strengths and weaknesses. This exercise will be helpful in the future as you come face-to-face with the daily management of the business. Don’t try to do it all. Don’t haggle with those things you are not strong in. Seek out the experts; it is well worth the investment.
  3. Know your industry thoroughly. Stay informed and be aware of the trends and how they can affect or impact your business. All the while, be ready to make necessary adjustments to your business strategies, such as implementing new approaches to old challenges based on what’s taking place in your industry.
  4. Set powerful goals and work towards achieving them because they are the lifeline of your business. Follow the SMART acronym for setting goals. Be sure they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Select goals that reflect the different aspects of your life, such as spiritual, business, family, etc. Les Brown says: “Life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals and charge after them in an unstoppable manner”. Without goals we function aimlessly and have purposeless lives. Goals give direction to fulfilling one’s purpose.
  5. Integrate your marketing strategy into your business. Remember that the business plan is the guiding tool and is not an ornament for display. Follow the strategy and adjust as needed. Though the foundation will stand, but the implementation may vary. Get to know the pain points of your target market. Understanding their needs and challenges is critical in developing appropriate solutions to solve your clients’ problems.
  6. Build up a network of support. In addition to our own self motivation, much is said about external motivation and inspiration when interacting with other like-minded individuals. Take time to be inspired by the success of others and learn from their mistakes.
  7. Apply technology to streamline the business. Make deliberated efforts to keep up with technology as it relates to your business and apply it to improve business efficiencies and enhance management. Understand how technology can be useful and appropriate in your business.

There is no doubt business ownership helps to realize dreams. It also requires consistent, intentional, and deliberate actions to deal with industry changes and other economic factors that can adversely affect the business. At times we need additional direction and support to transcend to the next level. Don’t overlook the high returns you will achieve when you make the right investment. They can make the difference in running a successful business.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Discover To Be Enslaved To Business Ownership Vision Instead of Details

In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Prince Caspian and his sea-fairing crew members, found themselves on an island where slave traders took control of the island and its Narnian inhabitants. It appeared that the communities could have fought back; however, they somehow chose not to fight back because fear had set in and it made them weak.

Maybe they just didn’t have ample means and were too weak to rise victorious if they were to retaliate. Obviously, the inhabitants were “enslaved” by the fear the slave traders created in them. Retaliation didn’t happen at first. Partly, because they were frightened that their loved ones would be taken away by the evil, green mist as a “sacrifice-of-sorts.”

Green mist or not, the Narnian community needed courage to envision that they could be free from the slavery and destructive influence of the traders. Although, having the Prince and others helping lead the way, envisioning the idea of freedom was needed to guide their actions, not fear!

My Challenge For You Today

My challenge for you today is to become a “slave,” enslaved, to your Vision instead of being in bondage with the details of your business. Being legally blind, I find dealing with the “details” of my business to be most challenging. Therefore, I strive daily to take responsibility for my attitude, adapting, and actions.

So, what are some steps that will help you become enslaved to a powerful Vision instead of being a slave to details with business ownership?

Possess a Positive and Constructive Attitude

One step to discover your vision for business ownership is to Possess a Positive and Constructive Attitude. Keep an open mind to legit opportunities that may present themselves to you. A positive attitude will help you become more decisive and open to change. Realize that in business it’s 95% about attitude and 5% about details and a negative attitude can have an adverse affect on your success as an Entrepreneur and business owner.

While striving to keep a positive attitude, you’ll discover that obstacles will stand in your way, trying to enslave you to “details” and placing you in the bondage of fear. And with fear, the vision will perish. And without a vision, freedom for your future will perish!

Taking Personal Responsibility

Another step to discover your vision for business ownership is to Take Personal Responsibility for your choices and actions. Since your life is a sum of your choices and actions (for me, divine intervention plays a part), you can’t wait for someone else to “take charge” of your life. You have to make that choice and I have to make that choice. My choice was made at age 7.

Knowing Your Passion and Why

Another step to discover your vision for business ownership is to Know What Your Passion IS As Well As Your Why. What are you really passionate about? What drives you to wake up every morning to do what you do? Finding that passion and knowing why you are passionate can help save you a great deal of heartache.

Most business owners know “what” they do and “how” they do it. Yet, seldom do they know “why” they do what they do. It’s easier to place in a vision statement that you “provide solutions for marketing by offering turn-key systems and training,” then it is to state WHY you provide solutions and training. Once you discover your passion and know why you’re passionate, you’ll find that your vision solidifies and the “details” take less of affect on your life.

Properly Develop Vision

Probably the most vital step discover your vision for business ownership is to have a Properly Developed Vision that…

  • Attracts People of the Same Mindset and Goals
  • Builds Respect and Loyalty for Cultivating Positive Relationships
  • Calculates the Risks Involved
  • Communicates Your WHY and Purpose
  • Defines What It Means To Become Successful
  • Emphasizes the Importance of Giving
  • Identifies Your Passion(s) Based on Your Gifts and Talents

Secret Discovered

I find that possessing a positive and constructive attitude is taking responsibility for my own decisions and actions because I know my WHY and I have developed a unique vision that’s right for me, my business, and for my life.

Business ownership and becoming an Entrepreneur doesn’t have to be a difficult decision, just a well-thought out, wise decision that’s been established by facts, due diligence, and integrity. Nonetheless, business ownership does need to be a decision that’s right for you.

My decision to become an Entrepreneur and vision is to Inspire Abundant Awareness so people can experience true freedom for their lives. Like the communities in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, you don’t have to be afraid. Just make the choice!