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Startup Lessons Learned: The Weight of Business Ownership

There’s nothing quite like the weight of holding the entirety of responsibility for the success of your business. If you own a business, you know exactly what I’m talking about. In any other role, you can just leave or transition with little to no significant consequence to the organization. Sure, if you’re a vital part of your organization there will be some adjusting of course but you really could decide that greener pastures must be out there, drop everything, and go. But, if you’re a business owner, at the end of the day success and failure begin and end with you.

Startup Lessons Learned: Belle Communications

There’s nothing quite like the weight of holding the entirety of responsibility for the success of your business. If you own a business, you know exactly what I’m talking about. In any other role, you can just leave or transition with little to no significant consequence to the organization. Sure, if you’re a vital part of your organization there will be some adjusting of course but you really could decide that greener pastures must be out there, drop everything, and go. But, if you’re a business owner, at the end of the day success and failure begin and end with you. That means, regardless of whether a client leaves or stays, a team member struggles or succeeds and no matter your emotional state or level of exhaustion — you are responsible. You’re ON. You’re on everyday, evenings, weekends … Even if you balance your time there are still emergency situations and immediate needs that vie for your attention and strategic perspective. That’s a heck of a lot of pressure.

Ownership and the Power to Choose: Till Death Do Us Part

The flip side to this scenario is that at the end of the day, YOU get to decide and YOU have the final say. For me, this means:

  • I get to choose the direction of my business.
  • I determine the culture and steer us toward it daily.
  • I get to choose who has the privilege of being part of my team and protect the culture and client experience that exist.
  • I choose to take on new client or let a client go.
  • I spend the majority of my time on tasks and projects I truly enjoy.

There is great freedom as a business owner. It’s empowering and enlightening and I love it. The longer I am in this business ownership role, the more I see the parallels to being married. There are high times and there are low points where you have to choose to press forward in commitment regardless of your current emotional state. It’s a significant and valuable commitment. Although I’m naturally an optimist, I’m also very realistic when it comes to the state and growth of my business. I feel the deep sense of urgency to press forward regardless of the successes and prepare for the potential of a rainy day. I see the opportunity for growth and at other times the almost desperate need for it as I recognize where we need to build and advance as an organization.

Entrepreneurs Unite + How to Support Your Boss

Although I’ve only been at this business ownership thing for about a year and a half now, I’ve already had many young PR professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs ask for my advice in starting a business. I’ve already shared 65 tips I learned in my first year of business ownership but I think there’s also great value in these Startup Lessons Learned posts that I share on occasion. If you’re considering business ownership or starting an agency, review the series and the questions I’ve been asking along the way. If you work for an entrepreneur, take note of this post and consider the weight of this role of business ownership. Support your team and do your best to within your role — this will substantially help alleviate the burden for your boss. Also, read this post on how to *successfully* work for an entrepreneur. If you’re starting out as an intern, read this post about how to rock your internship and be an invaluable resource to your team. As an entrepreneur, know that you are not alone. The questions, doubts, fears and triumphs you experience are not uncommon to other business owners. We’re all in this together. Instead of sharing questions in this post, I’d like to invite you to join the conversation by sharing the questions / challenges you are currently facing as an entrepreneur in the comments below or send me an email. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in the journey …

Kate Finley

Founder + CEO of Belle
Currently thriving in Puerto Rico