How to build a start-up business that doesn’t ruin your life

Building a business from scratch means you are able to put your own stamp on it, drive it in the direction you want and ensure your own values and beliefs are taken into account in the decision making process.

As a new business owner now is the time for you to build personal boundaries into your business. Knowing what will and won’t be acceptable to you in your business is as important as knowing your Unique Selling Point (USP), your cash flow forecast and understanding your market. If you don’t believe me then let me explain.

As a new business owner now is the time for you to build personal boundaries into your business. Knowing what will and won’t be acceptable to you in your business is as important as knowing your Unique Selling Point (USP), your cash flow forecast and understanding your market. If you don’t believe me then let me explain.

Over the lifetime of your business, be that a short-term growth business you sell on or a long-term business you can pass on to your children, you and your family will continue to have a life. The world will keep turning and things will occur that will sometimes distract you from the business and sometimes mean you have to say no to your family and friends because the business will have to come first.

Running a business means you can’t just phone in sick and know someone else will pick up the slack, you can’t take a half day annual leave at the drop of a hat to sort out your latest family crisis.Any time away from the business can have consequences for the business. Yet, often more importantly, there are consequences to your relationship with your family and friends when you have let them down because of the commitment you have to your business.

If you had envisaged a business which meant you could have more time with your family and friends then read on.

Business owners can become just a little obsessed with their new baby, this idea they have been considering and mulling over for years has now been born and needs nurturing and hand-holding as it grows and develops. It becomes increasingly hard to know what you should and shouldn?t be doing to develop the business and so many new business owners become busy doing “stuff” to and for the business without considering the benefit or value they are adding. They become distracted from the need of the world away from the business.

All of a sudden the business changes from something they do in their spare time, around the needs of their already busy life, to something which takes up every waking moment and half the night as well. If this isn’t what you want then consider the following very carefully and you can enjoy a balance of business, life and family.

Step one: is being a business owner for you?
Make sure this is really for you; being a business owner isn’t for everyone. If you don’t like uncertainty and change in your life, then no matter how many boundaries and plans you have in place, it?s likely you will find the intrusion of running a business too great. Consider:Are you ready to be your own boss?

Step two: how much time can you commit to your business?
Understand what you are, and are not, willing to do hours wise. If you can only give one hour a day or three mornings a week, then build a business which can manage with that amount of input. It is possible, but you will have to think cleverly when considering the type of business you will have.

It?s easy to fall into the trap of believing the more hours you put into your business the more successful it will be. That?s not always the case, you just need to work smart (see step four).?If you are able to work full-time on your business still keep an eye on your balance between work and life.?If you want to enjoy time outside of work you will still need to set boundaries.

Step three: where will you run your business?
Decide where you will run this business. Many new start-ups are run from the back bedroom, garden shed or kitchen table. You need to consider if running your business from home is right for you. I started all of my businesses from home and in recent years I have chosen to go back to working from home. I like the flexibility it offers and accept that sometimes this means it can intrude on our family life, but for me it’s a balance I accept and I have set boundaries that work for me and my family. You need to decide on the boundaries for you, your business and your life so that the water between the two doesn’t become too muddied. Having a second phone line, setting work hours and sticking to them and clearing away all traces of the business from the main living areas of the house, can all help.

Step four: develop an efficient business

Keep your business lean and efficient. Find quick ways of doing things that allow you to retain quality and good customer service. Don’t do things because you feel you should or because you always have. If you are serious about running a business whilst still having free time to enjoy life you will have to consider why you do each thing you do.

Think: does doing this add value, increase my profits?

Consider: could someone else be doing it better than me,
could I do it in a more effective way,
could I dump it?

Step five: be clear about your business aims and targets

Be clear about what you are trying to achieve and set yourself targets. Plan out your work, ideas and projects based on the time you are able to commit solely to your business. Yes, if you work long hours it may be possible to build the businesses quicker but if one of your aims is to spend more time doing things you love or with people you care about.  Keep to the hours you plan and the business may take longer to build but your balance between work and life will be healthier. Obviously, if you need to be bringing in a certain level of income it may be necessary to really look at Step Four in more detail.

Step Six
Learn to say “No”. If you have your plans, aims and targets all worked out you will be able to look at requests, ideas and opportunities clearly. Yes it is flattering when people offer you an opportunity, but if it doesn’t help you achieve your aims learn to say ‘No’ gracefully and politely. Equally when people request something which takes you away from your plans or key tasks, question if this is helping you to get where you are aiming or is it going to be a distraction.

Finally I know you will come up with some amazing new ideas, that’s how you have got to the point you are at now. But new ideas can easily distract you from what you really should be doing. Jot your idea down in an idea book and when the time is right, the time is available and everything else seems right go back to your idea book rather than being distracted by the bright new shiny ideas today.

Knowing your plans, boundaries and reasons for building your own business and keeping them at the forefront of your mind will help you make decisions to ensure you build a business which doesn’t take over your every working moment and ruin your life.

Let me know what you have done to build a business which doesn’t ruin your life by sharing your experiences below.


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1 Comment

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Fresh Start Solutions
July 17, 2013 at 4:37 am

This is really a good piece of information about starting up a business. I’d really love to learn about how to run business well. Great post here!

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