- Posted by Sue
- On 4th September 2019
I had a really interesting conversation with an extremely frustrated former business owner this week and I have a feeling that it might well resonate with large number of you reading this.
The business owner (we will call him Norman) had started his business in 2003 and, in the first year, it far exceeded all his expectations in terms of growth. During year two, he found himself having to hire more and more people to keep up with the demand for his product and his team quickly grew to over thirty people.
As for Norman, even though he had all these people at his disposal, he was working more hours, fighting more fires, seeing less and less of his family, and his stress levels meant that he was finding himself making more and more trips to the Doctors or Chemists to get a magic pill to help him feel better.
In early 2005, Norman decided to reduce the size of his company and so that he would be able to overcome his stress and get closer to his family once again. He reduced his marketing, the size of his team (which he found really stressful!) and the number of hours he spent at work. He did this with the expectation that his stress levels would dramatically drop; in reality, that never happened… He soon found himself working even more hours, fighting even more fires and, surprisingly, for less reward because with less work coming in, there was less profit dropping to the bottom line.
After a few months and a lot of soul searching, Norman decided to reverse his decision to downsize and started growing his business again. Once again, the business grew really quickly and Norman’s health began to decline until one day in 2006 he suffered a heart attack. Fortunately, it was a minor one and he was able to recover quickly.
Once again he found himself downsizing his business and laying more people off. It was just as stressful the second time around.
Fast forward seven years and we find Norman still stuck in the loop of growing, stressing and downsizing.
Eventually the whole experience took its toll and Norman suffered a further heart attack. This time though it was different his recovery took a lot a longer and in his absence his business went into sharp decline. When he finally got back to work he realised that his values had shifted and he was now placing a much bigger emphasis on his family and himself. He also realised that he didn’t have the fight in him to rebuild his now struggling business so he decided to close it and that meant the loss of 35 jobs.
A sad end and yet a story that, although the circumstances may be different, is being replicated day in day out throughout the UK.
An interesting question here is “How many years was Norman in business?” easy you might say “He’s was in business twelve years.” Has he really or has he like so many business owners, been in business just one year yet lived that same year twelve times?
Norman is no different to a vast majority of the people who are brave enough to start their own business. He started off with a great deal of enthusiasm and big dreams that quickly dwindled and got forgotten about during the day to day busyness of running his business.
It is a sad fact in the UK that for every business that opens its doors today 80% will not see their fifth birthday and a further five years out and 80% of the remaining 20% will not survive to see their 10th birthday. A simpler way of putting this is that for every one hundred businesses that open their doors today only four will survive to tell the tale in ten years’ time……
It needn’t be that way….
Join us one of our ‘Take Control of Your Business’ workshops where we will be sharing 10 Big Ideas ideas, strategies and tactics to ‘Enable You To Take Control of Your Business’. Simple things that Norman could have used to ensure not only his survival but also enabled him thrive in business.
More details to be found on our website www.mpcforprofit.com