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Business Ownership: A Juxtaposition of Speed and Patience

linked_business_ownersReading this article (By Francesca Federico, co-founder of Twelve Points http://fortune.com/2016/02/06/entrepreneur-business-success-tips/ made me rethink the message I deliver in my seminars to transitioning corporate professionals and often pass on to all my clients that are about to buy or start a business.

One of the reasons, I think, that some corporate folks start businesses and have trouble running their company, is that they can’t get used to the “speed of small business”. After all, decisions and actions that need to be made within the corporate environment often happen at a snail’s pace. (I hear this a lot from my corporate clients) Everyone must buy in and approvals must be given before plans are enacted. When you own your own business, things happen faster and you must act faster.   I equate this transition to business ownership to that of the “can’t miss” college prospect that enters the pros only to find that he can’t adjust to the speed of the game. Some Heisman trophy winners and all-Americans find themselves struggling to get up to speed, while some fifth round draft choices adapt and become stars. In your own business, you need to work on building your customer base quickly to build cash flow. You need to take action on bad employees quickly, lest they poison the work environment. You need to deliver to your customers on time and fix problems that arise…..quickly. If you don’t, your competitors will. This is not to say that you sacrifice quality, fairness and thoroughness for speed. But you do need to learn to make good decisions and take action quickly, without a corporate safety net.

All that said, I am struck with the premise of this article. While I think the pace of small business, generally speaking, is fast, I am willing to admit that patience must also be practiced. No matter how fast you work, there will always be things that happen out of your control. To quote part of the article, “In order to be successful, you have to be patient, whether it’s with negotiating new business deals, communicating with colleagues, or increasing your customer base. It’s easier said than done, but it comes down to trusting your process and remaining calm through the twists and turns—both big and small. You have to accept that not every decision will go your way. Most first-time entrepreneurs get easily frustrated and overwhelmed, which is understandable given the financial burden of their new ventures. “

Owning your own business can be so rewarding and satisfying. But it isn’t easy. It takes time to get it going and it costs money. Plans must be carried out with speed and thoroughness….then, sometimes, you must wait. Confusing? Welcome to the world of business ownership.

Mike Hall

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