Business is one of the areas in which I am most passionate!
I believe that businesses can provide income, training and positive relationships. Many Australians own a business, or have worked in someone’s business. Most family businesses are owned by a couple. The relationships within a business are often complicated because those working in the business are family or friends.
I have started many a business over my life and none felt safe at the point I launched the business. I believe that all businesses have risks and the relationship that you have with your business is just as important as the ones that you have with your family. The business often takes on a life of it’s own. In the early years it may demand your time like a small child, as it grows it may often feel like it has changed into a rebellious teenager and feel out of control. When your business matures, it becomes reliable and will provide you a sustainable source of income indefinitely.
Why have a Business instead of Employment?
I run a business because I enjoy being self-directed and creative at the same time. When I’ve been employed I felt I had to do things that I personally did not think were most efficient or effective. In business you have the benefit of being totally rewarded or punished for the decisions you make. The downside is that if your judgement is wrong you may go bankrupt!
I love the ability to decide when I work. In the early days of a business you may find that you are putting in double the hours of that you would in a job. This is called entrepreneurial intensity and is the energy you put into a business to get it from nothing to something. One of the biggest mistakes is under-estimating how much energy is needed. I would take a guess that it is similar to bringing home a new baby. Most couples end up fairly burned out, struggling with finances, with decreased social support and health problems if they do not work out ways to manage the huge workload.
I believe the ultimate benefit of owning a business includes:
- Keeping your intellectual property;
- Building a source of income that can sustain you instead of a pension;
- Providing a stable source of employment for your family as you cannot be sacked;
- Working flexible hours once the business is established;
- Autonomy and the ability to apply your ideas and gain the rewards when things work;
- Having a challenge and often there are no set guidelines on how it will work.
Is there a type of person who is best at Business?
No. It entirely depends on your business team. The skills may be learned, or hired or invited into the business to make it work. The best kind of business is one that you are most skilled at. If you are new to business you might take up a small part-time hobby and practice running something small 4-8 hours a week with low set up costs.
Most businesses that are successful have undergone several transformations to become sustainable. Just like growing a child, it is hard to know how things will go in the long run. What you start with will usually become something different over the years.
As a psychologist one of my strengths is in being able to analyse the skills and attributes of a team and this is something I can help you with. Should you start out with a friend or a partner? Should you hire an expert or should you educate yourself? Two of the biggest mistakes can be to work with a partner because you like being with them; and trying to educate yourself to save money when it would have been much more time efficient to hire a consultant.
Take The Body Shop for example:
“I am aware that success is more than a good idea. It is timing too. The Body Shop arrived just as Europe was going ‘green’. The Body Shop has always been recognisable by its green colour, the only colour that we could find to cover the damp, mouldy walls of my first shop.” (Anita Roddick)
It is these challenges that actually can forge the best things about a new business. These things cannot be found in a textbook, they come from jumping in and resolving today’s business problems. I’m sure Anita Roddick would have been keen at one stage to change the green walls, but in the end it became her signature colour. I believe that business owners can make mistakes not realising what is valuable about their business. Sometimes having an outside viewpoint can help.
What can a Business Coach do?
I believe that intellectual property is one of the most important parts in planning a business start up and the key to growth and expansion. As a psychologist the confidentiality rules as a health practitioner makes our profession ideal to provide support to businesses as we cannot discuss your intellectual property outside our consultations. Privacy is of the utmost importance. If you were to discover something exciting and need help to manage your trade secrets, then psychologists and lawyers are two professions that are great to have on board in the beginning.
Business Coaching for many start ups will include:
- Planning who is on the team, their skills and attributes.
- Planning to avoid financial risk by establishing clear supports from family and friends who are often involved in the beginning.
- Planning to manage family and friend relationship problems before they affect the business. If you are a couple then do you have a plan if you decide to discontinue your marriage? Don’t fear change, accept it and plan around it.
- Managing crisis – optimistic business owners often fail to plan around the threats to their business adequately. Having a conversation around “what would you do … when” in the beginning may save your business later.
- Help define your role separate to the business. Most business owners will become their business by accident, and if the business ends or if they go bankrupt, they can be at serious risk of depression or suicide if they have not planned to emotionally separate themselves from the business.
If you planning a start up, no matter how small, there are so many things that you may not have thought of that could help you make it a success. I’m happy to visit established business premises or meet with family or friendship groups brainstorming to commence a business. It is important to know that my business interests currently related to start up psychology clinics and that this means that I cannot be your competitor so your information is safe and confidential.
Author: Vivian Jarrett, B Psych (Hons), MAPS, MAICD.
Vivian Jarrett is the Clinic Director at Vision Psychology in Wishart and now M1 Psychology at Loganholme. She is passionate about providing high quality psychology services to Australians from all walks of life.
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