Me, you, and those people over there?

The question of who you are going in to business for is subject so many different answers.  Breaking the question apart it comes down to who you intend to spend your time pleasing.  A slew of businessmen and entrepreneurs will quickly jump to say that their in business for themselves, to make money or get ahead in their careers.  Others have the same answer because they intend to make an easy time of being their own boss.  Thinking that you’ve had your fill of working for a corporate office with big brother always watching how much time you log on free online games and social media sites is not a reason to go into business.  Most of the time, that situation leads to someone brimming with ideas and potential but just ends up being unemployed.

            Being Boss is Rougher Than You Thought.

Wanting to be your own boss is great.  Enjoy the opportunity to create an environment that you would want to be working in.  Generate an energy in the workplace that delivers productivity and efficiency.

            The clients will never be all the way happy.

This is an ever noble group comprised mostly of non-profits, that believe they operate purely for their customers.  Is there a negative aspect to operating this way?  No, but there is a cautionary disclaimer here.  If operating a ‘for-profit’ business, and intending to only please your clients or customers: do not under price yourself or otherwise design failure around meeting the needs of clients.  It is appealing to jump into informing prospective clients that you can be cheaper than the competitors, or that anything could come free.  People pleasing makes for great client relations managers, and owners that operate with this mindset are advantageous in bringing in new accounts.  It then falls on every other member of the team to meet promises that may not always be deliverable, and deal with the aftermath.

Both and Neither

The bigger picture: the forest made of trees… is that both answers are completely right.  Conversely also wrong, but we’ve moved past that now.  You should be in business for yourself, so you can meet the needs of some group of people.  The needs of all people if you’re particularly determined.  The juggling of both however is the really difficult aspect.  Anything that produces good results consistently is, even when exceptionally simple.

Boundaries that demonstrate fairness

Draw a line.  A line in the sand that is a mental acknowledgment of when business stops being about the customer and starts being about you; and the other way around too.  Keep the line fixed though, this isn’t something to change every time a decision or choice comes up.  Transparency will keep these values in check.  Employees and clients see this behavior and will soon learn to distinguish this barrier on their own.  “Oh, he’ll do everything he can for a customer until …” that is the very point that needs to be determined.

The revolving asset: Clients/Customers

Those who believe they’re working for their clients to begin with will take this in a bit easier, but this bit of information is undeniable: your clients are your boss now.  They may not be right, but they do have to be happy.  The clients will say what does and doesn’t work for them.  What you must determine is, “would I take this from my boss?” or “would I let my boss speak to me this way?”.  When we discussed drawing the line, this is part of it.

            Don’t Own a Company You Wouldn’t Work For

Just because the client is your boss now doesn’t mean that you can’t decide who you will, or will not work for.  Cultivate the productive relationships that your company needs and courteously step out of projects that create more difficulties than the agreement is worth.

            Be the Boss You Wish You Worked For

The biggest milestone I’ve seen with self-starters is when they reach a point where they’re not only managing their team, but also themselves.  Directing and leading others comes naturally to select few and others have worked to hone this skill.  On a separate playing field is self-accountability.  As a working business owner you must hold yourself accountable to everything you would expect of an employee.

Do it for Love, and Money

The answer to the question essentially is that you are in business for the company.  Your company needs you to operate and run; so you must be interactive.  Your company needs your clients to stay in business.  The operation of a business is a balance of so many things; defining the needs of each segment clearly relieves the stress of trying to over-deliver to yourself and the clients.

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