Things to Consider Before Being Lured into Entrepreneurship

The idea of starting your own business can be quite powerful. Consider all the positives: setting your own schedule, doing something you love, making money for you, taking vacation whenever you want. And, as one business expert put it, “You want to build wealth, not earn a salary.”

Did he say wealth? That sounds nice, too.

All in all, the positives make it sound like being a business owner is a deal you can’t pass up. Who wouldn’t want to do this? After meeting with a so-called business expert, my husband and I thought we could certainly pull off the entrepreneur life. And we have, but not without many heartaches and headaches.

Here are some things you may want to seriously consider before being lured into entrepreneurship.

Paperwork, paperwork, and oh yeah, more paperwork.
Back in the day, my parents owned a business, several in fact, and I was used to seeing them pull out the large check ledger and produce piles of receipts from their many file cabinets. Foolish me, I thought that since most purchases are keyed into a computer today, that there would be no need for all that paperwork. Wrong! At the end of every day, my husband returns home from work and places all of the day’s receipts into a folder. Someone, that person being me, must then key all of those purchases into the laptop. I still hold down a full-time job, but entering all of our business receipts into the computer is really like a second job for me. Don’t be fooled, it is time consuming.

Learning QuickBooks.
Now I do admit that while QuickBooks has been a lifesaver, it was challenging and a little intimidating to learn. Our first business consultant advised us to purchase the software, but was not willing to walk us through the initial setup. So, with fingers crossed, we plunged in and just hoped that the IRS would not need to look at our books, ever!

Waiting for people to pay.
Marketing your business, obtaining clients, and doing the work itself are stressful enough. Top that off with waiting for payment as the bills keep coming in, and you’ve got stress personified. Money is always a sensitive subject in any relationship, but when you’ve done what you consider to be an exceptional job and then wait 60, 90 or even more to see the fruits of that labor, it can cause many arguments and sleepless nights.

Hiring employees or doing it yourself.
My husband and I struggle with this every day. We know how difficult it is to find reliable people. We realize that no one will ever care about our business the way we care about our business, but we also know, more often than not, that my husband cannot complete his jobs alone. For the most part, we bring on day laborers, but even that gets expensive.

How much to charge for your services.
We’ve been in business now for over three years and this continues to be an issue. You don’t want to lose a potential job, but you don’t want to bid too low and not make any money. We calculate and re-calculate and, once the proposal has been submitted, we still question ourselves.

Even with all of these constant struggles, my husband is ultimately happy with the service he is able to provide. We try to keep the business small to avoid dealing with the headaches of workers’ compensation, immigration issues, and all that comes along with that.

Would we do this again? My husband says probably not, even though he continues to encourage me to start my own business. His business has a lot of overhead with very expensive equipment; my business will not. We think my business might be a better fit for us. Only time will tell.

We can say it’s been an adventure and it has certainly tested us on several occasions, but we push forward knowing we made the right decision for us at the time.

Project Sponsorship: How to Effectively Champion a Project

The Project Sponsor is more than a figurehead. It is a vital role on a Project and an effective Sponsor can be the difference between success and failure.

To sponsor a project means more than simply putting a name on the business case and turning up to the occasional meeting. Sponsorhip is a fundamental activity and plays a critical role in the eventual success or failure of the project. Many sponsors make the mistake of believing that they don’t need to get involved; that the project shouldn’t take up too much of their time. In fact, the most successful projects have sponsors that understand the importance of their involvement.

The Project Driver

The sponsor of the project is the driver who will push the project forward in the organisation. If the sponsor isn’t active then the project will fail to gather momentum and its priority will begin to slip against other, more important projects. Without support a project will not get the necessary resources; be that time, people or money.

It is the sponsor’s role to foster support for the project within the senior management levels of the organisation. The sponsor should be demonstrating both public and private support and helping all staff understand why this project is so important.

The Project Champion

The sponsor can articulate the business purpose for the project in a few succinct sentences – that’s how well they understand the project! They ensure that the project remains aligned to the strategic goals of the organisation, and through timely involvement ensure that key decisions are made. A project manager is responsible for the running of the project, but ultimately it is the project sponsor who has more power and influence in the organisation and can make things happen.

It is the sponsor who is accountable for the success or failure of the project. This means that the project sponsor will have to make the key project decisions, which are outside the approved boundaries for the project manager. Through an effective working partnership, the project manager supports the project sponsor, ensuring he or she is aware of the key issues on the project and providing them with possible alternatives.

Project Leadership

During times of change, staff look to management for direction, particularly their own manager and also senior managers. The sponsor has the important task of communicating the business purpose for the project and ensuring that the benefits are understood across the organisation.

The project sponsor is a vital role on a project and can make the difference between benefits that are fully realised and benefits that are only partly achieved. Projects need support and must be driven within an organisation. There will always be an extensive portfolio of projects and only those that are most critical will survive. Therefore, it’s is ultimately up to the project sponsor to ensure that the project is given the backing it needs.