Dear Aunty B,
I have always personally felt very proud running my own business, but recently I feel totally unsupported. I have employees clamouring for pay rises, a demanding board and a harping husband.
Then on the weekend, one of my friends asked me to sponsor the local footy team because I “run a business and have loads of money”.
I have no intention of quitting but how do I get more support? Or is the lot of a small business owner to provide jobs and income for all, but feel totally put upon?
The latter, of course – but only if you let this happen. You have already proved that you can be in charge of your own destiny by starting your own business. But one of the tests of entrepreneurship is whether you can garner enough support to take your business to the next stage.
First, you need a wide group of friends who understand the sacrifices you are making and who support your courage and determination. Often these are other entrepreneurs or like minded people. That doesn’t mean you ditch your doomsayer friends, but spend less time with them when you are feeling vulnerable.
You also need a network of advisers and mentors who can offer you mutual support, both emotional and professional.
You also need to link in with government bodies and industry associations. Mature entrepreneurs often point out that one of their regrets is not understanding the degree of support around for growing businesses.
And have a look at the composition of your board. Should the composition change so it is less demanding and more supportive while still providing the scrutiny, guidance and governance you need?
As for that harping husband – could it be time for a trade-in, or a romantic break? It is essential to have support for the business from the home-front.
The suggestion that you support the local footy team might be fun – if you were not feeling so trampled.
When you are feeling the way you are, it is essential to put yourself first, without guilt. So spend time shoring up your support networks and sponsor the footy next year when you have the energy and enthusiasm to enjoy it.
Your Aunty B.