Are You Running The Business or is the Business Running You

frustrated-business-owner-300x229Are you Running the Business or is the Business Running you?

We love a good survey here at Gain but this one highlights a very common problem that small business owners face – namely managing time properly and feeling that because you run a small business it means you have to sacrifice everything and feel guilty if you are not working every hour that is out there.

And it’s easy to get into this way of working when you first start running a small business – habit forming in fact. And because it’s habit forming, actually taking a step back and changing the way you work can be a frightening prospect because you think it will have a negative impact on your business performance – that’s just the way we do it and always have.

But the question is – are you running the business or is the business running you?

If it’s the latter then taking a step back and looking at how you work and how you could work smarter to give you more time to enjoy the things you do could be just what you need and make a massive difference to your 2014.

According to the survey by XLN Business Services, one in five UK small business owners will be working on Christmas Day. And this won’t be the first time for many, with 64 per cent saying they had worked on Christmas day before and a third of those having done so more than three times.

(NB – This does raise the question of what type of businesses did the survey target- because if they are in the hospitality sector – Christmas can be one of the busiest times of the year!!)

But the intrusion of work into the personal life of small business owners doesn’t end with Christmas, as 28 per cent admitted to missing a loved one’s birthday, an anniversary or similar celebration because they couldn’t get away from work. Some one in ten also reported losing friends through working too hard and losing touch while running their business.

When it comes to Christmas Cheer – 86 per cent saying they won’t be paying staff Christmas bonuses this year. Twenty-five per cent said they will have staff working for them over Christmas yet just 29 per cent will be paying staff extra for this work.

So how can you start to look at the way you work and make the changes that will mean you are not tied to the business so much you find it hard to escape for even a short amount of time.


  • Stop and step back – Assess where you and the business are right now – it helps to do this off site – away from the day to day distractions and ideally with someone who has the experience, knowledge and understanding to act as a sounding board – helping you to analyse and take stock. Answer questions like – are you being a busy fool?


  • Why did you go into business – Remind yourself and think what is was you ultimately hoped to get out of it.  If you had a magic wand, what would you want your business and personal life to look like in two, five or 10 years-time?


  • What do you want from the business – Running a business WILL take a lot of your time, effort, hard work and dedication – so it is only right that you ask yourself what it is YOU want to get from the business and not what the business is taking from you.


  • Understand Your Numbers – it’s vital you understand your business numbers and what they are telling you as by doing this you will have a solid foundation from which to plan your future business direction. If you do not truly understand them (and most business owners don’t so don’t be afraid to acknowledge this) seek the advice and support of a small business accountant that can explain this to you in a language that you understand.


  • What’s working well and what isn’t – be honest and address any issues and look to maximise any opportunities.  Do more of what is being done well and don’t be afraid to step away from or change what’s not.


  • What do I need to do to get to where I want to be? Compare your long term goals with where you are now, identify the areas that need to improve and create a road map to help you get there. Write the plan down so that you can measure progress and it will become more meaningful to you and help you assess how you are doing as the business moves forward.


For your business to really succeed YOU need to be running IT – not the other way round. If you would like help and support to achieve this, call us on 01872 560326 or visit