Are You Running Your Business or Is Your Business Running You?

Being a small or home-based business owner can be loads of fun and very rewarding.

You may have decided to go into business because of your need for personal freedom or to fully unleash your creative genius. You may also have decided to go into business to supplement your existing income, to make yourself available for young children or aging parents, or because the organization you were working for downsized, leaving you to fend for yourself.

There are hundreds of different reasons why we become business owners, but the results we aim to produce remain the same ?

- You want to be your own person, doing something you love.

- You want to generate a profit that will provide you with the lifestyle you desire.

- You want to be recognized, respected and acknowledged for your contributions.

- You want to help others solve problems or fulfill needs.

- You want to make your own decisions instead of having them dictated to you.

- You want to pick and choose whom you work with and how you work.

- You want to experience freedom ? freedom to travel, enjoy quality time with family, set your own agenda, eat when you want, sleep when you want, etc.

Running your own small or home-based business can be immensely rewarding, yet if you get too involved with the routine daily matters and finer details of each task, you can get pulled into the vicious cycle of working "in" your business instead of "on" it.

When this happens, you become misguided and stop focusing on the tasks necessary to move your business forward at an optimal pace.

Whether you are a solopreneur or have a small team working for you, it is important that you don't allow yourself to get caught up in every fine detail of your business operations.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't be aware of what is going around you, but simply means you only have so many hours in a day and how you spend your time will determine the rate your business grows, the profits you earn, the quality of service your clients and customers receive, and your overall happiness and personal satisfaction.

Are you the only person working your business at this time? If anything were to happen to you, for example, if you were to become sick and unable to work for a month, would your business operations come to a grinding halt and would your cash flow be brought to a standstill?

Do you arrange your own appointments, handle your own e-mail, do your own word processing, create your own marketing materials, keep your own financial records, manage your own web site, provide customer service and enter all prospect and client data into your database? Do you package, label and ship your own products?

If you answered yes to several of these questions, you may want to take some time to sit back and think about what these responsibilities are costing you, particularly if you are still working full-time while trying to get a business off the ground.

If you have been in business for several years and if you are still performing all functions within your business, how might this be holding you back? Are you working a 40-50-60-hour week, seeing little of your loved ones, feeling exhausted, and neglecting your health and nutritional needs? Is the fun no longer there?

Evaluate your current situation and determine whether you are running your business or whether it is running you. If you are being run by your business, consider the options of automating, delegating, bartering, leveraging and creating multiple streams of income.

When thinking long term, how do you see your business serving you? What kind of results do you want to create?

If your current activities are not moving you towards these results at an optimum pace, change your actions so you can free yourself up to do what is necessary to move you in that direction in the most advantageous way possible.

Laurie Hayes works with small and home-based business owners who are struggling to maintain a healthy work/life balance. To receive valuable tips, strategies and techniques designed to grow a successful business without sacrificing quality of life, subscribe to her free bi-weekly newsletter at http://www.wheretheheartis-lifecoaching.com

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Small Business Struggles  NBC4 Washington

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