Starting your own company can be both exciting and daunting and I wonder now if the constant balance of “feast” or “famine” ever really goes away. The ability to create jobs for people and value for clients is in my mind one of the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur but managing the daily balance between stretching your ambition and dealing with the realities and responsibilities that come with owning your own business can be challenging.
Being the master of your own destiny means exactly that – it is you who decides, or has to decide where the business is going, how it works, what people you take on and how the company should move forward and progress. It is you who decides where money should be best invested to capitalise on opportunities and with this comes an open book in terms of possibilities. Your business is and can be what you make it – there are no parameters, no boundaries restricting your own personal and professional growth and indeed that of your team. But with this comes the stark realization that every decision is critical and determines what comes next for your company and as such decision needs be made swiftly but with due consideration.
When business is good and is travelling in an upward direction, business ownership is highly rewarding and immensely satisfying. Knowing that you have really made a difference by creating something valuable to those you work for, with and those who work for you is an extremely gratifying experience and can provide boosts of confidence to move you forward to the next level. But these positive phases should not be taken for granted because as we know, either for reasons with or out-with your control, the good days can be quickly overshadowed by some difficult ones.
As an entrepreneur I think a key skill, and one I am still personally trying to master, is the ability to quickly transition to managing change and challenges expediently as possible and recognise the positive learning outcomes such challenges bring and how they make your business, your team and you as a leader stronger. In marketing, we work with numerous senior client groups helping facilitate their brand and marketing strategy development to help them reach their full marketing potential. We are skilled and experienced at this and our expertise has helped many clients progress beyond their initial expectations. I constantly encourage clients to take a highly pragmatic approach to business and marketing planning, recognizing what is good, highlighting what areas need to be developed and developing an action plan to move things forward. This same approach needs to be applied to entrepreneurialism and on the days when I remember to practice what I preach, facing up to reality, not being overly sensitive to those things that are not right, moving forward with the next phase of the journey and simply “taking things on the chin” has to become engrained in your behaviour and approach.
Since starting my own business three years ago the company has grown from little more than an Ikea desk and a laptop to one that has an 11-strong team across Scotland. The journey has been a rapid and somewhat turbulent one at times, but it has been one that has allowed the true benefits of being an entrepreneur to flourish.
Entrepreneurialism is, second to having children, the most rewarding experience I have had in my life. It allows you and those around you to flourish, maximize your creativity and make a difference. With it comes enormous responsibility that must not be taken lightly however this must be balanced with the reminder that every entrepreneur is only human, mistakes will be made, things will go wrong and its how you deal with these challenges that makes the journey the most rewarding one.
Claire Kinloch is the owner of Genoa Black a strategic marketing consultancy. Genoa Black provides marketing services and in-house support to corporates, SMEs and entrepreneurs with an approach that goes beyond marketing.