How Good a Plate Spinner Are You?

Ok, you love to __________  —- just fill in the blank – cook, organize, selling xyz product                   

You decided to want to work for yourself—no boss to report to, you can schedule time as you want and make a fortune.  That’s the promise – that’s how owning a business for yourself is marketed.

By now you may realize that every customer is a boss—sometimes a very demanding one.  You work more hours than ever—now you are free to work days, nights, weekends.  And, you are starting to see the difference between gross revenue—the $ your company collects from customers—and gross profits—what’s left after you pay everyone else including Uncle Sam.  This is a reality – not the only reality of owning your own business, but one of them.

 Being a small business owner is very different from owning a corporation.  You’re a small business because you like it that way—small is good.  It’s intimate. It’s personal. It is flexible.  You are in command of your future.

Being good at what you love is not enough but it is a great foundation.  It is the only foundation that will make you get up in morning and feel like you can’t wait to get started. It is the only one that will keep you going when things get tough and they will before times get good again , before they get tough again and good again. Life is made up of cycles with each loop different from the one before.

The secret to living the promise without getting lost in the reality is found in developing leadership skills.  During four years of study under Dr. Thomas Jones PhD at the Small Business Development Center, I learned there are four key areas to running a business and while you don’t have to do the work in all four you need to lead in all four. 

You need to pay attention to and put energy into continuing to build your Expertise, Marketing, Finances and understanding and making choices about Technology. 

Remember the old plate spinner juggling act?  A plate would be placed on the end of a stick, the juggler would set it spinning then move on to another stick and place until there was an entire row of spinning plates?  The juggler had to accurately decide which plate needed attention to keep all the plates in the air.  That’s what it’s like to run your own business – deciding when each of the key pieces needs some energy so all the plates stay in the air.

How good are you at spinning plates?

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