The Runaway Train Or Business Owner Overwhelm

“The runaway train came over the hill and she blew” or so the song goes and its a familiar metaphor for the owner-run business. (Note: I use the term owner-run business because even if you are technically classed as a small business it might not feel small to you.) What started out as a wonderful, exciting journey full of new discoveries and opportunities can turn into a feeling of intense overwhelm. 

You first client undoubtedly gave you an absolute thrill. Doing something that you love, are good at and perhaps can do better at it than anyone else you know, is rewarding enough but when someone values that service enough to pay you it launches you into a new unknown world.

Chances are that as an owner-run business you are very, very good at what you do and have a desire to get up in the morning to go and do that thing, so much so that in the beginning you didn’t even know if you would be rewarded for doing that thing you just loved it so you just did it anyway. If you are good at something that few other people can do and deliver a fabulous service to your first client it is only a matter of time before you get another client or two or ten or sixty. At this point you are still excited and enthusiastic if a little un-nerved as to how you will meet all of this demand, never mind manage the background tasks of administration and book-keeping to name a couple. The train has started to run, you notice but it’s still ok. You decide take on or contract with people to support you and your growing business, you put more coal on the fire and let it rip.

Now you are on a runaway train, let me explain. Does any of the following sound like you?

Your coffee, by the time you drink it is always cold?

You have so many windows open on your computer it bewilders you as to how it still works?

Inevitably you need the loo but its been the case for the last two hours you just haven’t got around to it yet?

Once home you would love to tell your partner, family, cat about your day but you have lost the power of speech?

A 40 hour week is a wistful dream and not in the realms of reality?

People; employees, colleagues, clients, wife, husband, partner, family, contractors, delivery drivers are kicking off and it usually feels like it’s directed at you?

The big idea is still there but constantly appears clouded over by numerous issues so much so that you feel your focus and clear vision has been lost?

You are still in love with the destination but you are having some serious doubts about the state of your train?

It’s ok. That’s normal. In fact it’s a great sign that you are on the right track. You have recognised that something else is needed. You are an expert in your chosen field. The trouble is that now you are trying rapidly to become an expert in another field, the minefield of managing people. Managing people, their reactions and emotions towards things connected to you and your business can be the stuff of nightmares. By ’people’ I mean any human that is touched by or touches your business in any way. Everybody from suppliers to accountants, your family and friends as they can all be impacted by and impact your business. The thing is that, this little area of managing people with all of their own hopes, dreams and aspirations, is actually highly highly complex and requires an expert that’s really really good at it in order to get it right. Uh-oh, that’s not you right?

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