A Day in the Life of an Entrepreneur
“I love being a business entrepreneur because I get to do what I want, when I want to do it, and the way I want it. Freedom with ‘no boss’ telling me what to do! Instead, I get to tell others what to do, show them how to improve the business, and execute my way. It is fun, rewarding, and fruitful. That’s my life!”
That’s the life of a small business owner, right?
Well…it may be close for some, but unlikely. Yes, you became an entrepreneur because there is the attraction of benefits for owning your business, and running it the way you want. Getting to experience these benefits takes a hard-working, error prone path before you eventually receive the rewards.
So what does it look like to be an entrepreneur each day?
Finances end up being top of mind
A day in the life of an entrepreneur is mostly centered on problem solving, and problems come in multiple types. First, you have financial problems to solve. These include getting the best price for your products by shopping around with different suppliers. If you are a services business, you are also interested in getting the best price; that is, lowering your costs to deliver your services. These day-to-day financial problems are not just limited to back-office. You may need to solve for in-store financial issues, such as ensuring that you have enough cash for managing transactions, or keeping your cash safe as your till gets full during the day.
Solving financial problems each day usually begins by setting up good processes. Thinking about processes and making sure everyone knows their role in the process will help keep your business running smoothly. Then as you go through your day, you can oversee the processes, help make corrections, and train new staff.
Second, you are going to have people problems to solve.
Working with people is both rewarding and frustrating. Keeping staff onboard and motivated is an everyday effort. People need encouragement, positive correction, and acceptance. You need to be doing all these things with your people to help them not only feel good, but to perform high to help your business grow.
Third, you have to think about getting customers into your business every day.
Your lifeline is when customers use your business, and the only way that is going to happen is if they come to your business. You need to think about marketing your message to your customers, with the right message, so that they value what you are offering to them in a differentiated way from your competition. However, once the customer comes to your business, you need to ensure that they are having a good experience, treated well, and spoken to with the same expectations as if you were the customer. You and your staff all need to be conscientious of your customer’s experience and to make adjustments with your staff as you see areas for improvement.
Solving financial, people, and customer experience problems are an everyday effort. It is plain hard work where you need heightened situational awareness, mixed with an approach so that your staff and customers hear you. But even with these best efforts and attempts you may not experience the rewards of being an entrepreneur.
So there are two more ingredients that you need to have every day as you help nurture your business.
The first ingredient is knowledge transfer. You cannot grow without staff. This means that you effectively need to get your staff doing what you would do. More precisely, it means that you somehow need to transfer your knowledge to become their knowledge, so that they are doing what you would do. This involves four steps:
- Show and teach them how to do it, whether it is how you start a customer conversation, to answering customer questions.
- Let them make mistakes, and to figure out ways to get through the challenges of a customer situation. Without a failure one cannot appreciate success.
- Offline, and in a safe way, help them with their mistakes. This is the opportunity for solidifying what they know with what they experience.
- Lastly, acknowledge their success, so that you close the loop with them to give them confidence.
The second ingredient is patience. Not all staff or all customers will be an easy or smooth experience. Your patience with everyone is important as it distills maturity that every business needs. This is not to say there is never a time to let a staff person go, move staff to a new position, or even give a customer bad news. Things happen beyond your control or when you make a mistake that simply needs to be acknowledged, fixed, and forgotten. But you are the leader of the business, so everything and everyone will ultimately take your lead, as the business takes on your personality. So keep patient as that is a quality everyone likes.