I’m having a hard time deciding whether to stay in my business (of 10 years) or going back to a “job.” The very thought of going back is frightening (would anyone even hire me?) yet I am just not making enough money in my business. What should I do? I am not getting anything accomplished with refocusing on my goals for 2014 because of this dilemma. — Julie
When you have 10 years invested in a business, it’s worth seeing whether you can turn that business into what you need it to be. It sounds like you’re feeling overwhelmed at the moment, which makes moving ahead in any direction feel daunting.
Gather strength from acknowledging all of the accomplishments you’ve had over the last 10 years — and all that’s great about the freedoms that come with owning your own business. Grab hold of that positive, confident energy and apply it toward asking yourself the following questions:
- Why isn’t your business making more money?
- Is your business still relevant?
- If it’s not, is it possible to re-invent it so it will be?
- Do customers know you exist and what services you provide?
- Is your organization lean and focused?
- Are you spending your time doing the things only you can do — and pushing everything else off to others?
After you objectively focus on what is — and is not — working in your current business, shift your focus to picturing the business you would love to have. What would its goals be (for this year, five years from now and for the last day you ever go to work)? What would the energy in the office feel like? How would customer interactions feel? What kind of a staff would you have? And how would you purpose them to help you reach the goals you define for the business?
When you can imagine that business, start to live it. With every decision you make the question should be: Does this decision get me closer to the business I want to have? Or move me further away from it?
Do some research: What are your successful competitors doing that you’re not? What need does your customer have that you’re not filling — that maybe no one is?
Do some soul searching: What are my strengths and weaknesses? And how should I address my weaknesses? Do I like being a sole owner, or should I look for a partner (or toward a merger) to help me build the business I know can be built?
The status quo isn’t getting you where you want to go. Be honest about where you’re starting from now — then shake it up. Be as bold as you can be in terms of imagining the business you want to lead — and making the decisions you need to make to get you there. You can do it!
Christine Tardio is a trusted advisor and business coach to a dynamic range of women business leaders. She can be reached at thelookinglass.com.