Rick Meekins is the Managing Partner at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy, an Atlanta, GA based small business consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations.
Doing the Time…Keeping it in Perspective
Starting, running and growing your business is not an overnight phenomenon. Unless you started with it, you cannot have it all, now. In the restaurant industry, they say that the easiest way to make a small fortune in the industry…is to start out with a large fortune.
Getting your business to a level of sustainability requires time, commitment and investment.
For most people, starting out in your first business is one of the hardest things you will do in life. You will miss all sorts of things, like tax payments or opportunities because you were busy planning, or planning because you were busy doing or missing days because you spent two days straight working and brainstorming on the next big thing. You may run out of cash, you may spend more time networking than working, you may end up borrowing more money just to pay off the money you’ve already borrowed and you may get locked out of your office.
Interestingly, this is all part of the process – whether you learn it for yourself, or you learn from someone else’s mistakes. These are incidents that help to shape you and mature you as a business owner. They also make great stories for family gatherings, holiday parties and mentoring! I remember, this one time…
This is paying your dues.
For example, when I opened my first restaurant, we were busy the first day we opened for lunch, which was nice and different. I’d depended on my restaurant manager to take care of the details – he busily ran around with a checklist, making sure that all of the equipment was operating properly, making sure that employees knew what they were supposed to be doing, making sure that guests were being seated properly.
Unfortunately, he forgot to get the C.O. (Certificate of Occupancy – issued by the Fire Department that permits a facility to be occupied by clients and customers.) In the middle of this lunch break, the fire chief walks in, winks at me, and started screaming at the manager, asking him why the facility is opened and telling him he has to shut it down.
Matt just about had a meltdown in the middle of the kitchen. While the chief gave us our CO on the spot, this was one of those learning opportunities that could have caused expensive delays before we made our first dollar. This, for Matt and I, were part of paying our dues. (See – it doesn’t have to be that bad!)
There are several important things you have to realize while running your business:
- There are certain things you can plan for, such as what will happen if you get sick, or what happens when cash gets lean. I am not suggesting you can predict when they will happen, but you can accept them as a possibility – if that means only that you know when you will need to move your stuff out of your office.
- Unbearable, unexpected incidents will happen. It is not that they are drawn to you – they just happen. Keep it in perspective.
- There is a way. The further “outside the box” you are able to think, the better. If you tend to think analytically, make sure you’ve got people you can call on who might be able to help you with creative solutions. Unless it has to do with accounting. Keep it in perspective. Come up with a plan.
- They normally won’t take your life. I understand that there are certain professions where this could happen. Most of us don’t do those sorts of things, so, while keeping things in perspective, they might take your house, your car and some of your other stuff, but they won’t take your life. Or your dog.
- A bad economy doesn’t mean that you have to sit back and wait for the fan to get hit. Be proactive. Come up with a plan.
- The people around you that you are jealous of that have the credit card without a limit, and the 10,000 per month paychecks, plus bonuses a) probably started where you are, and have already paid their dues, b) have far more to lose then you do if something happens, and thus be more devastated, and c) still have problems, worries and sometimes, cash-flow issues.
- There will be customers that will force you to rethink how you do business – maybe a customer that is larger than what you normally deal with, or more customers at one time than you are used to. Be proactive. Come up with a plan.
Keeping things in perspective, and planning will help you survive and navigate the tough times in your business, no matter what’s going on. While you cannot plan for everything, and you cannot always predict the intensity of some problems, doing your time and paying your dues will help you stay afloat.
At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are a Small Business Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping you develop strategies for your organization, and are committed to your success. If you have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].