A small business owner (SBO) has several challenges. Often, he or she must play every important role, which can be stressful. But, I mentored a few small business owners during the past few years, and it thrilled each to be his and her own boss. Besides, each understood that it’s normal in a small business not to use full-time specialists in each major segment.I gained great insights in the workings of these small businesses. Though I never worked in a small business, but a $26 billion multinational firm in many countries, one fact is obvious. Apart from the scale, most challenges small and large business’ face daily are similar. Still, these three matters should be the owner’s continuing focus.
Small Business Owner Should Address These Areas Regularly
- Emotional tank
- Debt to equity ratio
At the start of the business, often you are alone doing most everything. And you hold a primary job and are waiting for more security to go full-time in your small business. Either way, you will work long hours. Maybe, you don’t have a business plan or budget. Thus, you might not have a road map for your present destination.
A former colleague sometimes said, “the future is not what it used to be.” To be sure, God alone knows the future. That’s why events surprise you. So, realize that changing economic and business conditions are normal, and you need to be alert and pre-emptive as you decide issues in the business.
Running a business can be stressful
A small business can cause your stress level to hike. I see this often with young small business owners. The business grows faster than expected and taking the next step scares them. That too, is normal. Still, good news abounds! Everybody has 24 hours daily—that will never change. Besides, you have a limited emotional tank—choose your priorities daily. Armed with these two unchanging facts, you have a simple decision. Will you trust the Lord to give you what you need to do His work at proper times? This is difficult to carry out but simple to understand.
In 2 Peter 1:3, Apostle Peter tells us His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. And Matthew 11:18 assures us Jesus will help us with our burdens.
Start the new year by asking the Lord to empty you of you and fill your emotional tank with Him.
It’s important you are doing His mission. Your business’ mission is its purpose. Are you doing what the Lord showed you to do? Are you doing what you set out to do? Or are you allowing the market to lead you where prices are “good” and “margins” are high.
Never decide on money alone. That will always produce a limited fix, or major problems. Decisions must have substance. If your products or services do not have a sustainable competitive advantage, you will chase prices and margins in the short-term and appear successful. However, that’s not a proper base for your business.
Ensure you are following the mission and not chasing money for temporary gains. Apple, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Southwest Airlines are businesses that realize they need sustainable competitive advantages. They know chasing prices short-term doesn’t fix structural issues. And they know they can’t stand still on today’s gains; so, they keep going.
A creeping ratio is a sign I see in a small business that stresses the short-term. As an SBO you must learn your funding needs. Make sure adequate capital exists for each business development stage. Recognize you must collect receivables, keep inventories low, and pay suppliers on time. Poor working capital management shows up in rising debt. And unexpected debt is never welcome; especially when you should seize growth opportunities.
That said, as you start a new year, reflect on the three areas a small business owner should address regularly. Fill your emotional tank with the Lord, ensure you are on His mission, and watch your debt-to-equity ratio—try to avoid debt.
© 2014 Michel A. Bell