Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shut Down or Keep Going?

Most business owners have hit some point in their company development at which they ask themselves whether their hard work is worth the effort. Is this the company you dreamed of building? Would you be just as happy working for someone else? Would you make more money working for someone else? Is your partner dragging you down? Is managing employees just too much effort?

These questions can cause a great deal of anxiety in even the most successful businesspeople, and they should not be taken lightly. When you feel as if you are at a crossroads in your business development and are trying to decide whether to grow the business or just get out of it, ask yourself the following questions from both a financial and an emotional standpoint:

  • How much have I invested in this business?
  • What do I love about my business?
  • What do I hate about my business?
  • What will it take for me to continue running this business and/or grow it?
  • Am I committed to this business?
If you decide to commit to your business, spend time listing exactly what it will take to keep you engaged and excited about it. For example, would it help if you hired or fired a few employees? Could you outsource a particularly troublesome aspect of the business? Practical and simple changes to the basic structure of your organization can make a large impact on its success.

In addition to considering the practical and financial aspects of your commitment, take the time to evaluate what you need emotionally as the owner. Most entrepreneurs start their business to get away from "The Boss," but end up treating themselves worse than anyone for whom they have ever worked. Often entrepreneurs work themselves into the ground and, in doing so, lose sight of the reason they started the business and lose all pleasure in conducting it.

Make time for yourself to manage and dream about your business. Make sure you are paying yourself an appropriate salary and taking vacations. When you commit to building your business, you should also commit to ensuring you are making a profit both financially and emotionally.

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