2. Understanding How Your Life Affects Your Business
2. Understanding How Your Life Affects Your Business

2. Understanding How Your Life Affects Your Business

Hey, life happens. Opening and operating a business is one of those major decisions that should not be taken lightly. Choosing to be in business is a decision that will create stress, tension, and worries. Most important, choosing to operate a business will create new learning opportunities. Learning to interpret what you learn into meaningful change is more of an art than science. This is why learning to deal with stress and learning opportunities is so important.
Your ability to absorb and deal with stress depends a lot on your capacity to embrace the stressors in your life. The more stress and changes you have endured in the last two years, the less capacity you have to cope with another change, whether it is opening a new business, buying an existing business or expanding your existing business.

How would you describe the health of your business (or career) today?

A) Lots of chaos, business interruption/changes and have had to pivot and adapt. B) Business is shrinking, have taken on more debt and liabilities to stay in business. C) Things pretty much the same. D) Business is increasing and growing.
A) If your life has been chaotic over the past few years, proceed with caution. The Pandemic of 2020 has been an unsettling experience for everyone around the world. This has created a disruption in daily life and the demand cycle for products and services. Depending on when your are reading this, pandemic or not, assume nothing and confirm everything.
Remember, demand cycles and trends change quickly. If you want to develop a line of sight of where demand for your products and services are moving to, you will need to let go of the past, regardless of how successful you’ve been in the past. In periods of rapid change, relying on past trends can be a trap and the past may not be indicative of current or future trends, especially in periods of upheaval.
B) There are two types of businesses that find themselves in a financial crisis. A business that is shrinking and a business that is growing. When a business is facing a drop in revenues it is natural to compensate by offsetting a the drop in revenue with debt. The reason this makes sense is because we are not usually able to predict how long the revenue downturn will last.
When your business is shrinking, the key is to preserve your cash and reduce expenditures that do not directly contribute to making revenue or providing customer service. If you cut too deep or in the wrong area, it will exacerbate your situation and possibly make the ongoing operation of your business very difficult.
C) Perhaps your life is on the rebound despite the chaos, and when you compare the stress of buying a business against the past two years and it looks manageable, go for it. The reason for this is that work can provide much needed structure in your life. Just be sure to not overestimate your capacity by creating inappropriate expectations of yourself.
On the other hand, if your life “has been stable” and pretty typical for the last two years, get ready for a shake-up. You are in a good position for the task ahead providing your are ready to run a marathon. Buying a business is not a sprint, it is a more like running a marathon. It will test your resolve and put every skill you have to the test. You will need to become like a chameleon that adapts to the changing environment.
D) If your business is growing and increasing, this is not the time to become complacent.
Use this time to prepare for the long haul. Nothing of significance in this world is accomplished without training, commitment, and endurance. Think of this time as your “training” for the upcoming “marathon” which begins the day you decide to make some changes.
Before running in a marathon it is wise to prepare with training runs. Then gradually increasing the length of your runs until you reach the marathon milestone. Then keep up your training by continuing to run to build your strength and endurance. The same is true when operating a business: be diligent, make a “to do” list with due dates.
Owning and operating a business will teach you a lot about yourself, the business, and market conditions if you are observant. Do not short shrift the process; it has much to teach you if you are open minded.