Cons of Entrepreneurship

cons of entrepreneurship

Last week, we shared some of the pros of entrepreneurship. Today, we have to bring you back down to earth a little. Let’s share some of the cons of entrepreneurship.

Con of Entrepreneurship #1: A Heavy Workload and Long Hours

Since entrepreneurs wear many hats in their small business, that can mean a heavy workload and longer hours than a traditional employee. Depending on your organizational and time management skills, these business-related tasks can sometimes lead to less personal time for family, or fewer vacations. If you don’t have enough employees to handle day-to-day operations of the business, it can be difficult to arrange time for vacations, sick leave, or maternity leave.

Con of Entrepreneurship #2: Isolation

If you work alone as an entrepreneur, you are free from workplace gossip or hierarchy — but it can also mean a feeling of isolation. When you don’t have other employees or colleagues, the work day can consist of sitting behind a desk or computer screen for many hours without any social contact. Without short chats at the office coffeemaker you may feel secluded and lonely. Many of us experienced this for the first time during the pandemic, but it’s a concern for many entrepreneurs even in regular times.

Con of Entrepreneurship #3: An Unpredictable Income and Potential for Loss

Being an entrepreneur means taking a huge leap of faith: giving up a steady income. Running your own business, especially in the early start-up stages, can mean that your income becomes unpredictable and unreliable. This can make things difficult when trying to plan for the future or saving for a big purchase. You may need to take a raincheque on that Ferrari.

Con of Entrepreneurship #4: Loss of Structure

Moving away from an organization to begin your own business also involves moving away from an organized and hierarchical structure. Although this may seem appealing to some, it can create confusion and disorganization particularly in the initial stages when things are still unfamiliar. Many entrepreneurs realize that there’s a learning curve when figuring out how certain high-level elements work, things that someone else used to handle in their old employee jobs.

Con of Entrepreneurship #5: Discipline, Self-direction and Risk-taking

You may love not having a supervisor present to make sure you’re doing everything properly and meeting deadlines. But without this, good self-discipline and focus is all the more important. It’s all on you to keep yourself on track and making important, often time-based decisions.

Con of Entrepreneurship #6: Paperwork and Administrative Duties

Moving away from an organization to start your own business may also mean losing your administrative support, your accountant and your financial analyst. If you’re running a carpentry business, there’s more to think about than crafting a perfect chair. You also have to deal with billing, invoices, orders, suppliers and other clerical and administrative duties. Without experience in this field, these tasks can be daunting and are often put off, to the detriment of the business.

Con of Entrepreneurship #7: Stress and Pressure to Succeed

Because your reputation and your income are on the line, the pressure to make your business a success can be incredibly intense. Stress management skills are very important when dealing with hurdles and roadblocks, small and large. Look for resources to help you cope so you don’t burn out.

Con of Entrepreneurship #8: Responsibility and Accountability

The feeling of accountability for your small business can be intensely rewarding, but it also comes with risk. With your name behind the business, your personal reputation is on the line. Always. You are the public face of your business and everything you say or do can have an effect no matter how small or seemingly harmless.

As you can see, entrepreneurship does have its difficult moments and tough considerations. But don’t fret! Small business education goes a long way in preparing you to deal with all aspects of entrepreneurship.

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What makes a great business leader?

What are the qualities of a strong business leader? As the providers of Canada’s leading small business training, we know that good leadership is one of the keys to a successful business.

Here are some of the key qualities of a good small business leader.

A good small business leader has – and shares – a strong vision

A strong small business leader has a strong vision, both at the start of a business and during its lifecycle. As a small business owner, you’re responsible for setting the direction of your growth, and providing stability even when things are hectic. If your business has employees, sharing your vision with them gives them pride in where they work and demonstrates that you’re a leader who knows their stuff.

A good small business leader leads by example

Which do you think is more inspiring: arriving late to a meeting and interrupting people when they talk, or showing up on time and encouraging productive, two-way discussions? As the leader in your small business, inspire others through your actions, not just your words. Great small business leaders also have strong ethical standards and expect their employees to meet these standards as well. Show that you embody the principles, vision, and values that you have created for the business.

A good small business leader empowers their team

Great small business leaders know that good ideas can come from anyone, and value everyone’s input and unique personality. Encourage your employees to approach you with concerns or ideas, and really listen to them. Delegate tasks to your team members, and invest in business training courses to help them build their skills. By trusting your team to do their best, you’ll show them that they work for someone who has their best interests at heart.

A good strong small business leader is stable under pressure

Being an entrepreneur means wearing many hats, which can mean more stress. The responsibilities of entrepreneurship are real, but a strong small business leader must be able to deal with issues without flying off the handle. Need help managing stress? BDC has some stress management tips specifically for leaders.

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How to manage your team when working from home

Managing Employees Working From Home

Many small businesses across Canada have had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes having everyone work from home. If you’re new to managing a team of remote workers, here are some tips and guidelines to keep in mind.

How to manage a remote team

  • Be flexible and understanding. Many entrepreneurs and employees alike have been thrust into the work-from-home life in this unprecedented time, and are doing their best to manage their work responsibilities while managing family and their own mental health. Of course, your employee should be as considerate of their deadlines and schedules as in a traditional office. But it’s important to remember that most people are adjusting to this new way of working, while at home potentially with other family members who have their own schedules and needs too. You may have to be extra flexible to account for this, and cut your team a little more slack than normal.
  • Check in on a regular basis. Whether it’s weekly group chats or one-on-one check-ins, make sure you talk to each of your employees on a regular basis to see how they’re doing. They may need an extra day to complete a project, or may be in need of community resources to help them. Don’t pressure them to talk, but make sure they know your virtual door is always open.
  • But don’t jam-pack the days with meetings. Back-to-back meetings are often distracting even in a regular office environment, let alone a working from home during a pandemic environment. It’s important to make sure that everyone is kept up to date and knows what’s going on, but it might be a good idea to scale back the amount of meetings you have, to ensure nobody gets overwhelmed or falls behind. Instead, try quicker messaging options like Slack.
  • Trust in your team. A huge part of running a virtual office is trusting that your team is working. You can’t stroll by and chat with them like in a traditional office. Of course, you should be monitoring their overall progress and how they get there, but don’t make checking their social media and constantly asking for updates a regular part of your day. Many of us have seen reduced productivity during the pandemic, so take that into consideration as well.
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From the archives: How entrepreneurship is like riding a motorcycle

Four years ago (to the day!), GoForth President and Founder Dr. Leslie Roberts wrote a great blog post about her own experiences with motorcycles – which of course is like the experience of entrepreneurship.

I was about 35 with children of my own when I decided it was time to take my rightful place behind the throttle. Those of you in the learn-by-doing category would say, “Hey, just hop on. You’ll figure it out. After a couple of crashes, you’ll learn what not to do.” Those of you in the learn-by-education category would suggest a class on safe motorcycling first, correct?

Find out how the lessons Leslie learned on her bike are similar to the lessons we can learn as entrepreneurs: How entrepreneurship is like riding a motorcycle. 

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Throwing in the towel – is it time to quit your small business?

At GoForth Institute, we’re entrepreneurs too. We’ve been through it all, and many of us have had more than a couple of small businesses. We know that entrepreneurship can be an invigorating, freeing journey, but we also know that it can be one of the toughest things you can do.

The downsides of small business ownership aren’t often discussed honestly, and many of us can sometimes be unwilling to admit that our particular entrepreneurship journey might be at an end. Of course, we’d want everyone to love their small business, but we know that sometimes that love can run out. So, how can you tell if it might be time to end your small business? Here are some signs:

  • You’re hemorrhaging money. It can take up to three years for a small business to turn a profit, but if you’ve tried everything and still see your money slipping away faster than it’s coming in, it could be a sign.
  • Your relationships are suffering. If you’re so stressed that you’re taking it out on your loved ones, or work so much that you never see them, it could also be an indication that it’s time to close up shop. However, it could also be an indication that you need to hire some help!
  • You’re bored. When you started your small business, you were thrilled by it and spent every waking hour dreaming and planning. Now, though, you have no more ideas and are just running on fumes. Could you benefit from outside help with planning?
  • You dread going to work. If the thought of another work day makes you feel miserable, that’s not a good sign. Analyze this feeling. Would a new direction for the business help? Some new employees to take the load off? Think about what it would take to make you love your small business again, and plan out all options.
  • Your health is taking a turn for the worse. If the pressure and stress you’re feeling about your small business is taking a toll on your health, then something’s not right.

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or two of these things, you may have a problem – but that doesn’t mean closing the business is the only solution. This problem could be solved by new staff, for example. And as we said above, most businesses don’t become profitable until about the third year of business, so we usually don’t advise throwing in the towel after, say, 14 months. However, if you’re starting to feel like maybe you want out, take it seriously. Take time to analyze all options available to you, to make very sure this is the best course of action. If you haven’t already done so, plan your exit strategy and tie up all loose ends. And once that’s all finished, regroup, reflect, and plan for your next small business!

No matter what stage of business you’re in, comprehensive small business education, like the kind offered by us at GoForth Institute, may help you find success. Knowledge is power!

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