If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work. WIlliam Shakespeare.
Perils of Small Business.
Imagine you are going on a holiday to a small, remote tropical island, a beautiful island, dotted with coconut palms, rainforests and a mountain in the middle of course, to climb and look out over the endless ocean. There is a lagoon with fringing reefs protecting the island beaches from the powerful ocean waves, a lagoon with a catamaran for your use, fishing rods and diving gear. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it.
You hop on the seaplane and it drops you off in the lagoon and takes off again and there you are, in your idyllic, island paradise. Still looking forward to the holiday?
You look out beyond the reef and see the shark fins beyond the breakers, masses of them. The sun beats down on you because that’s what happens in the tropics, right? But it’s OK, because here you are safe on the beach, where you can sit in the shade when THUMP on the sand beside you, a huge coconut falls – luckily it missed you, it must weigh 3 kilos! So it’s not safe in the shade, not safe in the sun, not safe in the water, and who knows what’s in the rainforest!
Evening falls, and out comes all the mosquitos and other flying, crawling and mostly biting insects! Sure, this is some tropical paradise!
“Life keeps throwing me curve balls and I don’t even own a bat. At least my dodging skills are improving.” ― Jayleigh Cape
Or it could have been! With a little planning. If only there was a phone, you could arrange a few things, but then, a Satellite Phone should have been first on the list of things you planned for this remote island holiday.
What else would have been on your list? How about sunscreen, something around 50+ SPF? What about a hat and protective clothes to prevent sunburn? Insect repellent? Checking the accommodation for what it was stocked with first? Lots of things you could have planned in to make this the most fabulous holiday ever. Except you need to plan ahead, not as an afterthought.
Ahhhh, the perils of deserted tropical islands. They are a bit like small business – and the perils of small business are equally as dangerous, but equally as easy to plan for!
“I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run towards it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your foot” ― Nadia Comaneci
The perils of small business are many, but few of the perils are as dangerous as the failure to think ahead and plan where you are going and what you need. Arriving and hoping to make do is not a viable option. However, many people end up in business in exactly this situation, and then the perils of small business become too obvious, and very painful.
What are the perils of small business?
The first and most obvious peril is not having a focus, a goal, direction or strategy. Why are you in business? What do you want to achieve? Is it a money-making thing? Did you buy yourself a job? Is it your retirement funds invested? Or is it a passion you want to monetize and make a business, a career and a life from? It doesn’t matter, as long as you know, because it affects everything else.
Your business planning is based around where you want your business to go in the future. If you are buying a business to build up and sell, your plan will be very different to a business built on your passion and love for something you want to build a career and a life around. The perils of small business are waiting for those who get the fundamentals wrong.
Then there are the details, like the finances, the people you work with, the products and services, marketing and dealing with customers.
Not only are the fundamental issues like your business purpose and direction important, the details are critical too! You can have everything right except for one of many small but critical factors, and the whole lot can go awry before you realise. The perils of small business need to be examined and dealt with, long before you discover them the hard way.
How do you go about preventing these perils of small business taking you down, before they become an issue? The best way is for an intensive examination of your business concept, well before you take any other action on it. Even before your business plan is formulated, you need to be asking a lot of questions, designing and testing your concept and ideas, researching a variety of ideas, looking at your own motivation, your skills and capabilities before you even settle on your business model, around which you can start planning.
Once you settle on the concept, you can start designing the business model and whether you will be doing it alone, in partnership, with a company or in some other entity. All the different factors that will eventually become your business will have an influence on these foundation issues.
Once the foundation of your business model is established, you need to look at the whole raft of factors that are required to work in your favour, to ensure you don’t fall prey to the other perils of small business – failure of the business due to issues such as lack of capital, low sales, poor product or service quality, inadequate marketing, untrained staff or too many overhead costs.
How can you possibly hope to manage all of this, and still look forward to the adventure of being in small business for yourself, without the fear of succumbing to the perils of small business?
There is a way. It’s called the Business Profits Program. It looks at your idea and concept for a business, or helps you with one if all you have to begin with is the desire to be in your own business. Then it builds on your desire through your passion, finds a focal point for it, builds in your resources and capabilities and gives you the options for the businesses you could look forward to creating and building your new career around.
Next, you need to consider the details and the finer aspects of business planning. All that is taken care of too – with all the questions you need to ask to build a solid business plan and contingency plans for your concept, before you spend a cent on setting up the business. At this stage, the perils of small business are all on paper and you can work your way through them without fearing the disasters that could befall you, without this degree of preparation and forward planning in place.
A bit like that holiday. It can be a great idea, perfect location and the most wonderful opportunity, unless you forget something like the insect repellent, or the sunscreen…
If you find yourself in business and feeling like you landed on that deserted tropical island, facing the perils of small business all at once on your own, then it’s not too late – the Business Profits Program can help you re-examine your business and create a whole new plan for it, reinvigorating, reinventing if necessary, to ensure you are in the business you really want to be in. Take a look, no matter where you are up to in business. If you have some friends in business who look like they are facing the perils of small business also, please invite them to take a look too.
Preparation and planning never go astray. Just think of the tropical island holiday. It can be wonderful, or it can be a nightmare. The difference is all in the planning and preparation.
Til next time, fair winds and full sails.
“I want to put a ding in the universe.” ― Steve Jobs
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