4 Big New Year’s Questions to Ask Yourself as a Small Business Owner

The most successful business owners see themselves as lifetime learners. They’re always listening and asking questions of family, friends, employees, peers, experts, and others. They’re likely to have a mentor. Here are some basic questions and resources for answers that all small business owners in the commercial pavement sweeping industry should be asking themselves. The more information you acquire through these kinds of inquiries, the more confident you can be in your strategic plans and the path you’ve chosen toward your ultimate goal.

1. What Do I Need to Know But Don’t?

What else do I need to know to succeed? What’s missing in my informal and/or formal education about business, my industry, finance management, and strategic planning? What else should I know about my competitors, suppliers, and my target market? There’s so much to learn!

Research industry magazines and books. Read small business success stories. Join a business owners’ peer group in your industry. Join your chamber of commerce, business organizations, civic groups, etc. Watch videos on small business risk-taking, product innovations, financial planning, technologies, and other topics. Talk with insightful friends, relatives, vendors, other entrepreneurs, your local SBA rep, and others. Just enjoy listening and learning.

2. Am I Thinking Big Enough?

Actions to scale a pavement sweeping business should be strategically planned to fit the magnitude of your ultimate goal for yourself and your company. So, do you know what you really want? What does success, i.e., a good life look like to you? Is it a cozy small operation or a major regional or national enterprise? Does the scope of your long-term strategic plan fit your goals? Ask yourself those questions, to decide what you need to do to sustain and grow your business to the extent you desire.

Consider short- and long-range market indicators, projected financial and other kinds of future costs, employment market dynamics, options for diversification, and shifting external conditions. Re-evaluate your operations and financial position. Seek tech and growth financing consultation.

Conduct a long-range needs analysis and competitive market analysis in targeted expansion areas. Above all, identify your true desire for your life. Is it about a simple, charming, small business life or a high-adrenaline, risk-oriented entrepreneurial adventure?

3. Am I Balancing My Work and Home Life Well?

Are you a self-described workaholic? Do people who know you well describe you that way too? If so, you may accomplish amazing feats of entrepreneurship for many months or years, but unexpectedly find yourself fatigued, even burned out at some point. Do you believe that that could not possibly happen to you? Protect your love of the life you have chosen, sustain your self-confidence, and guard the health of your perspective on the ongoing ups and downs by maintaining a practical balance.

You’re living the life you have chosen for yourself and your family. Congratulations! Now, tweak it, as needed, to achieve ever-improving balance and well-measured management of your role as a business owner and a leader in your community. Plan time for recreation and relaxation, especially on weekends and vacations.

Overworking as a continual routine is a beginner-level mistake. You have no corporate management layers you need to penetrate to get ahead. So, you only need to prove to yourself that you can harness your boundless energy and direct it where and when you wish to bring it to bear. Remember to apply it to enjoying your family and outside interests regularly.

4. Can My Company Function Without Me?

Am I in a strong position to be able to step away from my business to spend time with my family or friends, or to take a vacation? Many, if not most, small business owners enjoy managing their businesses more than anything else they could spend their time doing for recreation. Their business IS their hobby project. Great! After all, the point is to be happy. But, can you recognize those times when you need to redirect your time and attention to your personal relationships and interests?

Despite one’s love for his or her company, it’s best to keep in mind that business owners are not immune to burnout, even if you may seem to be. People whose favorite thing to do is work at their business but who also take time to relax and enjoy other things typically find it even more enjoyable to get back into the office.

Take the necessary steps to make sure your employees can run your business without you for brief periods. Develop a reliable, quality team. Conduct the proper training to enable them to operate when you need or want to be away. Designate and prepare members of your staff to assume temporary leadership roles in your absence.

Big Questions Bear Repeating

Perform the frank self-examination offered in the questions presented here. Use your answers to make your fairest assessment of your current approach to reaching your goals for your business, your family, and your own life. Consider setting up a simple professional and personal development plan with a goal or two for every day, week, month, and year. It’s a good way to accumulate achievements in building your knowledge and skills in the management of your company mission and your life.

Enjoy your entrepreneurial journey and your private life. For best results in that great endeavor, you are sure to find that staying on a path of life-long learning, introspection, and life balance will deliver a continuing flow of both business and personal benefits.