Small business owners ‘ready to give up’ (what?)

This was the headline finding of a report compiled by Aviva and covered in today’s Daily Mail. It went on to read “a quarter of small business owners say the economic outlook is so bleak they would rather return to being an employee”. Given the job I do I am more than aware of the pressures and challenges entrepreneurs face, but why is the media constantly pushing out such bad news.

Negativity of this nature can condition ambitious people to hang up their boots up, we must balance all of this with celebrating the successes of many entrepreneurs who have decided not to participate in recession.

Headlines like this do nothing for the spirit or culture of enterprise. A brighter way of looking at the future is looking at the great successes of the past:

General Electric – formed by Edison when US economy faced collapse.

IBM – set up in the middle of a US economy slump

General Motors – went buying spree when the Federal Reserve was approaching melt down

Disney – took off smack bang in the middle of the Great Depression

Microsoft – founded in the middle of a phase of stagflation

CNN – started in a “double dip” recession

Apple– thrived just after the dot-com bubble burst!

These are the messages we should be putting out into the market. One of the key ingredients for business success is the mental toughness of the entrepreneurial team – please can we stop with the doom and gloom – we all know things are tough, stop pushing it in our face. To quote Jim Collins (again) great leaders face the brutal facts but they maintain absolute faith and belief in what they set out to achieve.

Well I am sure Aviva did the research with all best intentions, but this is  my advice to those thinking of packing in:

1. Remember the very reason why you set up on your own

2. Get involved with a network/group and speak to other business owners, ask them for their advice

3. Find a mentor – someone to lean on

4. STOP – take a day off and try to rise above your business situation

5. Surround yourself with positive people

6. Stop listening to enterprising assassins

7. Be aware of negative thinking and reframe with positive thoughts

Challenges are all part of the business growth journey, many of us would be lost without the pain. More success and good news stories PLEASE.

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2 Responses to Small business owners ‘ready to give up’ (what?)

  1. amanda says:

    Interesting piece and I will genuinely try to keep the positive points you make in mind, but to be honest it’s really really hard to be positive at times. Its not even a month since the madness of xmas and any money our business made has already gone on rent, rates and vat. January has been quieter than last year even, when paying yourself is not a given who wouldn’t think of giving up? Its more the state of the jobs market that keeps me going than the rewards of running my own business. I’m not a whinger or negative person either, really I’m not but it’s scary when you’ve a mortgage, kids to look after + no back up like savings, well off family + things like the lack of a pension gnawing at you. Positive thinking can only get you so far, practical support like rent, rates or vat subsidies for small businesses would be a lot more helpful.

    • johnleachwp says:

      Hi Amanda – I think your comments are so valid and are ones that many would share. I think you also hit the mark when you say positive thinking takes you only so far. Practical support for small businesses would make bags of sense but (I am a great believer that NI holidays should be one) is that really going to happen? I think my message is that so often we get what we think about and its so easy to get into a rut – the resultant effect is a spiral decline. Believe me I can totally understand all the points you make, been there many times, maybe I am just a sucker for punishment!

      Thank you for your reply – Regards John

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