Are you in business? Or just busy-ness? Are you running your company? Or is it running you? Entrepreneurship is not just about activity, but intended results, including growth, revenues and profits. Ask any entrepreneur: Time flies when you’re running a business. Especially for new business owners, it’s so easy to get so caught up in the grind and hustle that months, and even years, can go buy before you stop to answer a basic question: How am I doing?
As the owner of your business, it’s your job to do a serious and ongoing assessment of your business planning and results, so you can make adjustments and changes in direction, and reallocate resources as necessary. In other words, business planning doesn’t end when you finish your initial business plan. That means asking—and answering with brutal honesty—several questions, on a quarterly, if not monthly, basis:
1. Is my business delivering a profit? And am I personally realizing a real return on my investment of time, money and effort for myself, as well as for my employees, clients, staff, investors and other stakeholders in this business, including my family?
2. What do my people say? Go beyond the numbers, to how they feel about the organization, and about you. Don’t just assume that these stakeholders—including your spouse or significant other, if you have one—are fine with the status quo; ask them, and listen. But also pay attention to less direct messages, such as high staff turnover or difficulty in filling key positions, that indicate that prospects for your business may not be positively viewed by others.
3. Am I happy and fulfilled? Do I still have passion for my business, industry and job—and for entrepreneurship in general? Am pursuing my life with a sense of purpose? Am I continuing to grow and learn as the leader of this company? Am I operating at peak-performance level? If not, do I have the courage to change, and to accept the risk that comes with that choice? And what about the risks of not changing?
As the owner of your company, it’s up to you to make the plans, set the goals and make the changes necessary to ultimately achieve and maintain profitability. Your job is not to just manage. It is to lead.
Black Enterprise Executive Editor-At-Large Alfred Edmond Jr. is an award-winning business and financial journalist, media executive, entrepreneurship expert, personal growth/relationships coach, and co-founder of Grown Zone, a multimedia initiative focused on personal growth and healthy decision-making. This blog is dedicated to his thoughts about money, entrepreneurship, leadership and mentorship. Follow him on Twitter at @AlfredEdmondJr.