When you don’t make a decision you forfeit control.
It’s weird. Many small business owners tell me that one of the main reasons they started their business was for control. They became an entrepreneur because they want control of their life. They were tired of answering to a boss. They want to do work that has meaning to them. They want flexibility in their schedule. They want to make their own decisions so that they can do what they want, when they want. They want to chart their own course and decide their own future.
They go on to tell me how excited they were when they first started because there were finally so many options. They could do it any way they wanted to.
You’re probably thinking, well that was the point, wasn’t it?
It’s shortly after they find themselves in that place of freedom things start to get strange.
I was speaking with a client of mine; he was incredibly frustrated because his business was not growing and he wasn’t finding any clients. His marketing and messaging were all over the place. He wasn’t enjoying himself or his business. He was concerned that what he was doing was not sustainable and he’d have to get a job.
I asked him what direction he wanted to go in, and he shared ten different ideas that all appealed to him. He wasn’t sure which made the most sense.
He had gone into his own business for control and yet, here he was in a position of power, in the exact spot he wanted to be in, and was unwilling to be his own boss, to take control, to do the very thing he wanted to do.
So what’s happening?
Starting your own business is very exciting. There is a tendency to want to jump in with both feet and throw caution to the wind. You want to charge full steam ahead.
It’s true that without a level of excitement and fearlessness nothing would ever get done and yet, at the same time, I have seen many small business owners left paralyzed, or floundering about trying to go in many directions at the same time.
You want to take control, you need to take control; and yet, taking control is scary. When you take control you have to say no to things. When you take control you commit to following a path. When you take control you risk being wrong. When you take control you expose yourself to criticism.
The funny thing about control is that until you take control, nothing will happen, well at least not what you want to happen.
Until you take control, there will be a void that someone, or something else, will fill.
Think about your potential clients. They are actively looking for help today. Until you decide how to reach them, what to sell them, and ask them to work with you, someone else will.
You will once again find yourself reacting to what other people are doing. You will find yourself trying to defend your decisions, or lack of decisions, to a boss. Only now it’s your friends, partners, spouses and, of course, yourself. Ultimately, you will find yourself out of business.
I will caution you about one thing. There are some things that you cannot control. There are some details best left to others and their expertise.
You went into business for control. Go ahead. Make a decision. Choose a path. The worst thing that will happen is that you will be wrong and if you are – well, take control once again and make a different decision.