Running a business is like raising a child
It’s amazing the answers you get back from people on the outside looking in when it comes to raising a child. Often you will hear the glamorous things that as people we allow others to see. The happy family photo, stories of the good times and how happy you are with the way things are going and your child is developing.
So much so people new to having children often don’t really realise how much work goes into getting to those moments. How much stress, anxiety over not doing something as good as you should, loss of sleep and routine. Even if you drill it into them they still blindly head into being a new parent with an amazing hope that it will all be easy. That is until the dreaded second night of your child’s life. The one where you realise loss of sleep can change your entire person.
Throughout the past couple of years I have been looking back through our business journey and taking stock of where we started to where we are now. Throw in during that time we decided to cram three children into four years of our already hectic life and you realise just how much work you got through! I also approached our business with the same blind hope I had for parenthood!
It’s not easy raising a baby. It’s also not easy running a business. I used to look at my boss or my workplace and think for a fraction of the price they charge I could make a hell of a lot more. Almost like the second night of your child’s life I find all those I have talked to have that same moment of immense pressure and lack of routine and sleep moment within the first six months. When you realise that boss who had it easy really had the perfect system in place to cope.
Most going into business will tell you, they told me, it’s not the things you see it’s the things you don’t. Even as an accountant I wasn’t prepared for all the admin. Paperwork, accounting for yourself, marketing, support for your staff, payroll and HR issues, CASHFLOW and worst of all tax. The list will go on. Your 40 hour work week gets another 10 – 20 hours added that I like to call the admin week.
By this point in my article I’m thinking to myself why am I doing this. It sounds like a nightmare. However like with children the benefits running your own business provide are immense. From extra time with family, more money, less tax, better relationships with clients etc. and eventually the freedom to say NO.
It wasn’t easy though you don’t just get to that point by chance. I’m still early on my journey and far from being on top of it all but what I found was feedback and research is key. However what I wanted to share was a few tips on running your own business to hopefully help you get to where you want to be.
- Open up. Whether you have already started, or are looking to get into it, ask people in the industry. I have found New Zealand has been so supportive and even some of my closest competition are pretty happy to chat.
- Technology. I remember when I first started I got introduced to some amazing apps. At first I thought that is far to expensive etc. However a few months in I realised the major piece these apps play. I was penny wise and dollar dumb as by spending the extra amount my brand had a professional front and it saved over 1 full day in admin.
- Always do a personal budget with a business plan. The personal budget will tell you what you need out of the business to survive personally. This is vital for you to ensure you have enough to survive or have a plan to survive. The business plan then provides the pathway and steps required including short term goals to get you to your happy place.
- Document your processes! At the start as your business is building you will have time to put some notes down. Document how you do things. Your time only becomes more expensive and when you bring others into the business those notes are going to be vital to replicate your labour!
- Learn the value of your time. Like with children this becomes extremely short. Make sure your margin and numbers reflect the hours you put in. I see to many clients unable to say no, take on to much and end up making far less than minimum wage. There is a point where you must say no and growth is less important than time.
- TAX – it’s often the forbidden word and the thing that lingers in your mind. Be it GST, Income Tax, PAYE our big tip is to make a plan. It’s easy to save in particular with accounting software. Basically plan what you are going to make in a year (optimistically) then talk to us what your average tax rate + ACC is. That means each month we can apply that amount to our profit and set aside that for tax! Using Tax Traders (see other blogs) can really help with this also!
For some reason most media and others sell business as glamourous. Small business often get tainted overall like Landlords with that soleless entity that takes advantage of employees and is all about money. I get so frustrated as 99% of clients we have dealt with often sell themselves so short and put on a front. They always put the client first often ahead of themselves.
Something that always helps me put on a business hat is I take a step back and tell myself… “Feed my kids first”. In the current climate we need to open up and make sure we put ourselves and our own needs up there. Business is hard, raising a baby is hard. They both take so much effort and time and can bring out some extremely worrying thoughts and anxiety. However the benefits are huge. Plan, value your time and open up to others.
We are all in this together and we are all going through sleepless nights but it won’t last forever. Like our kids growing up our business does to. We just need to adapt and learn through all the stages to ensure we ride the wave with it, learning how to grow and get back some of that much needed sleep!