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Fancy a challenge? Opening a small business will definitely give you that…

In owning and managing your own small business, the responsibilities and demands fall largely on one person – the owner. You may employ workers and involve your nearest and dearest but the responsibility for achieving success or carrying failure largely falls on you! So if you are deciding to start your own small business, what challenges might you be faced with?

• You can expect to work long hours with little time off as you will be preoccupied with making your venture a success and that almost certainly should be very hard and demanding work.

• You may not initially, or even for some considerable time, have a steady or adequate income. Ongoing sacrifices are likely to be necessary, on top of the fact that you are already likely to have taken on a large financial risk in starting your business.

• You will not only need to be a ‘jack of all trades’, but also in developing and using a wide range of practical and management skills and abilities, you will almost inevitably engage continuously in multitasking and ‘ball juggling’.

• You will be the one to attend to detail, to assess quality and progress and take on the unwelcome agenda items of dealing with failure or problems.

• You will need to be an active learner, learning from experience and support, and seeking wisdom and truth, as you build not only your business but you as the all-round entrepreneur, with multiple new skills and roles.

 • You are likely to have to face up to the fact, fairly early on, that sustaining efficiency and effectiveness is very difficult – you will need to be good at developing coping skills!

• Alongside your business launch and development you will also need to not exclude the rest of your life, particularly personal and social relationships – whilst you can forewarn those around you of the likely impact of your venture, the small business will in reality still bring to your life, unexpected and demanding situations.

We know that you will have vision, purpose, objectives and outcomes – part and parcel of the business planning and development package. But how will you need to be in yourself, to be an all-round small business owner? Here are a few areas that should be within your own personal development and capacity:

• Being willing to take things on, make sacrifices and pick up the pieces when things don’t go to plan.

• Being strong and focused as a leader and manager.

• Being a learner – concerned to be reflective and proactive, rather than reactive, particularly in relation to your business practice.

• Having good interpersonal and relationship-building skills, supported by good communication skills.

• Being a pragmatic optimist more than a visionary dreamer.

• Having your beliefs and interests embedded in a value set which underpins and informs who and how you are, and how others can expect your business to be.

In simple terms, if you review the challenges and your potential, and still want to succeed in your own business, all that remains is for you to work out how to have that and a life as well!

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