Business ownership sounds glamorous to some, but once you’re in the trenches the glamour can wear off quickly. Sales and marketing, changing customer needs, hiring and supervising employees, and staying on top of cash flow can take a toll. Are you really running your business? Or do you see signs that indicate your business is running YOU?

  1. Working too many hours for too long at a stretch. You know your business needs you, and you expect to work hard during crunch times, but it’s been getting ridiculous. You also have a life outside of your work, and you are concerned that soon your spouse and kids will insist you wear a nametag to identify yourself.
  2. Sleep issues. It’s said that business owners sleep like babies – they wake up every two hours and cry. If that little joke isn’t exactly funny, your business problems are getting to you.
  3. Health changes. If you are under chronic stress you might see changes in your blood pressure. You might suffer weight loss – or weight gain. If you are finding yourself acquiring unhealthy habits or neglecting to take care of yourself, your business concerns might be at the root of it.
  4. Your staff isn’t following through. This might be a staff engagement issue that you need to deal with, or it might be a delegation issue on your part. You might even feel just a tiny bit gratified to know your staff needs you to come running, to tamp out the daily and weekly fires. If you are convinced that you would be better off doing it yourself, your business is running YOU.
  5. You’re playing catch-up with your competitors. It might seem that there is no time to sit still for a bit, look up and around, and plan. But your company does not operate in a vacuum. Reaction, even quick reaction, is not as effective as it is to get out in front. You don’t want to play their game – you want to plan and implement the game YOU prefer to play, and one you have a good shot to win.
  6. Cash is short all the time. When your cash reserves are low or nonexistent, your decisions in business and perhaps even your personal life are constrained by that limitation. Lack of cash can zap your energy and your confidence. The good news is that there are lots of places to find cash in your daily operations.
  7. You fantasize about stepping off the merry-go-round. Granted, business ownership is often romanticized, and it is not always fun. But if you notice that your brain and energy are not engaged a lot of the time, your business might be driving YOU and your morale right into the ground.

Why did you choose business ownership in the first place? Was it to create something unique? Was it to create jobs in your community or a legacy for your family? Did you start your business because you wanted more autonomy and flexibility than a traditional 9 to 5 could offer you? Or did you want to have the benefit of the financial rewards rather than handing most of them over to someone else?

Remember the rationale that led you to entrepreneurship in the first place. Then let’s revitalize you and your company by getting to work on the decisions that will make the 7 signs fade away.