Small business owners and managers work exceedingly hard to make their businesses sustainable and successful, many are never really off the job and most earn less than the national average wage as a result!

So why run your own business at all?

Many of the people I meet have set up their business to escape the corporate world, others because they were made redundant, some because they no longer wanted to work for someone else and a lot because they wanted to do something that used their individual skills and that they really enjoy.

As we all discover in the early days, setting up and getting your business to a point where it is sustainable, on an on-going basis, is not easy and importantly takes time. In fact, in Kent over two thirds of start-ups do not make the end of their third year of trading!

Whilst it is essential, just working hard is usually not enough to make a small business work. But combine this with a small number of clearly defined objectives you are committed to achieving, add focus and passion for where you want your business to go, and you could be on to a winner.

What do I mean by clearly defined objectives?

My experience with Clients is that we need to go back and answer two fundamental questions;

  • What do you want FROM your business?

There are usually two types of objectives here;

Financial – ask yourself how much do you need to earn from the business to meet your present and future needs and aspirations (having covered all your costs) and how long can you survive, using your own funds until the business is generating this.

Aspirational – most of my Clients also want things like job satisfaction, to deliver great customer service, make time for family, to give something back to the community.

  • What do you want FOR your business?

How do you want your business to be perceived by your customers, associates, partners employees and the world around you? These are the values your business will operate with on a daily basis.

Having clearly defined a very small number of objectives here, the trick is to ensure all your business activities are aligned to the achievement of these objectives – giving you a framework to operate by and use to screen out the daily noise that goes with running your business.

This is a great way to focus your limited resources on the things that will make a real difference and crucially put you on the road to success. After all your ‘success’ is something only you can judge based on how you choose to measure it!