I have people ask me this all the time.
I have started a business, so what do I now? What do I do first?
I always have a hard time answering this question. Which is odd. I mean, all I do is business! How can I NOT know the first step? I really started to question my abilities recently, because I struggled so much with this question.
But then it hit me.
You started a business but are still waiting for someone to tell you what to do.
We all know the stories about the VP in the corner office. Your oh-so-wonderful boss. How he never does any “real” work, he just sits around bothering people. Or the small business owner who is only in the office 20 or 30 hours a week while you slave away at the phones or the computer.
These people are missing a key point of the process. They are doing the work. But running a business means having to decide what work to do. That is the most common thing I see among unsuccessful business owners. They never did the BUSINESS side of their business.
You know what that VP is doing all day? Deciding what the company should be doing. And when. And why. And who should do it. And I guarantee that some days he wishes he could just show up to work, mindlessly pound away on a keyboard doing whatever it is someone else told him to do. He envies the low stress job you have, that allows you to leave it all at the office when you clock out. Trust Me.
I have made lots of decisions as the manager of my company. I was wrong, a LOT. But I was right as well (more often than wrong, I hope!). But when you have to look at someone across a table and tell them they are fired, and you know it’s because you made a pivot the wrong way, then you will truly understand what it means to run a business. This one person might be losing their livelihood, but you have 10 other people who still work for you and you need to protect their livelihood. And having the guts to make that call is what being the boss is all about. There is no manual to running a business. You DON’T KNOW what to do most of the time. But you gather data, think it over, and make a call. Sometimes you are right, and sometimes you are wrong. But I promise that you will never have the decision made for you. Hell, you likely wont even know what the decision IS.
What should you do first?
Hell if I know.
And if you can’t? Then you aren’t running a business, friend.