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Building a Business On Your Own Terms

Each day, aspiring entrepreneurs find themselves busy planning, creating and striving to launch the next big thing. As you plan for your dreams, it is important to make sure you are building a business on your own terms and ensuring that your plans fit your personal and professional goals.

We all know there is absolutely nothing wrong with making money in your business. However, when money is the only measure of success, it is easy to get caught up in the universal myth that more money equals more happiness. 

There comes a tipping point where you need to make conscious choices around growing your business, which includes defining your own version of success and getting clear on how big is big enough. Do you want to grow incredibly fast even if it means working 80-hour weeks? Alternatively, are you okay with more of a slow and steady approach that allows you to enjoy the lifestyle and freedom that can come with entrepreneurship? Instead of working your fingers to the bone, here is how to figure out what business model works best for the lifestyle you want to achieve:

1. What matters most to you?

One of the main reasons people pursue entrepreneurship is freedom. This could include creating a flexible schedule for you and your family, having more time to travel, the ability to pursue your other passions, or even just being able to do what you want, whenever you want. However, that freedom somehow gets lost along the way as you trade one boss for 12 new bosses (a.k.a. clients). You consistently miss out on things you really want to do because you are always “on call.”

By defining what is most important to you, you can lead your business in the right direction and make decisions based on those core values. It could be that family is number one on your list right now, so you make decisions to turn off work at 6 pm to eat family dinner each night. Maybe you truly desire to give back, so you dedicate one day each month to volunteering for a local non-profit. Maybe you only want to work with a particular type of client or on individual projects? If so, start saying no to anything that does not fit that vision.

2. Where are your time and energy best spent?

We all get the same 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week, but we all use them differently. In your business, you have a limited amount of time. By carefully considering how you want to spend that time on a consistent basis will dictate the size and scale of your business.

Do you want to spend your time teaching or creating? Are you happy managing a team of people to execute on your vision? How involved do you want to be with clients or customers? Where can you add the most value to your business? The answers may surprise you, but I see far too many business owners doing things they detest because they feel like they should. As a result, they become a roadblock in the growth and sustainability of their business.

Being very intentional with where you want to spend your time and energy can help you create a realistic road map for just how big or small your business should be.

3. How much do you want to make?

When figuring out what your ideal business looks like, you must examine your revenue, expenses, and profit margins. The reality is this: just because your business brings in more money does not necessarily mean there is more money coming home with you.

Many of my clients are surprised to discover that while their business continues to rise in revenue, their take home pay remains pretty much the same. The worst case scenario for many entrepreneurs, right? Realizing you have paid everyone but at the end of the month and you are getting whatever is left. Suddenly all the extra work does not seem to be worth it.

This is not to say you will not have to re-invest in your business because that is a given. But too often, I hear from entrepreneurs who have signed up for another course they did not need, or they have overspent on automated tools and systems.

Each expense must have a real return on investment. Otherwise, it is not only hurting your business’ bottomline, but your take home pay. Dig deep down and figure out exactly what you need to live the life you want. Having the money to go on vacation does not do you any good if you do not ever have time to go on a trip.

The Bottomline

You may find that you need to run things a bit differently to build a business on your own terms and reach your goals. However, always remember, this is YOUR business, and it is up to you how you run it. You have the power to decide how big is big enough and if it is truly helping you live the life you imagined.

For more, go where small businesses go to grow.

Dana is a Business Growth and Development Consultant and the Founder of Gray Capital Solutions. Through Gray Capital Solutions, Dana provides consulting, strategy and coaching to help small businesses grow. You can learn more by exploring or follow @graycapsolns.

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