3 Signs Your Business is Not Really a Business

Is your business really a business?  Seems like an odd question, doesn’t it?  Well, I’ve realized over the years that many solo entrepreneurs actually don’t haveSmall business owner holding up Open sign businesses.  Sure they’re offering their services in exchange for money, but they don’t really own a business.

You see, a business typically runs systematically and continuously no matter what.  There are systems, processes, policies, procedures, and support people to ensure that things run smoothly.

With solo entrepreneurs, especially service-based entrepreneurs, life often gets in the way of things running smoothly on a consistent basis.  Income generation (and often everything else) depends on the “business owner” so when the business owner is out of the office, sick, on vacation, etc. the business is practically shut down.  This isn’t the way to run a real rock-solid business.

Many entrepreneurs think that they’re business owners, when they are really freelancers, practitioners, or hobbyists.

Here are the top 3 signs that your business may not really be a business:

  1. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.  If this rings true for you, you have a job with very bad benefits, not a business.  Ideally, you want to have more than one income stream to support your business.  And you also want to have at least one person you can count on to “hold down the fort” while you’re away. Remember, businesses run no matter what.
  2. You don’t have systems, processes, and policies in place.  Many entrepreneurs ”fly by the seat of their pants” which often leads to inconsistent income, inconsistent practices, and inconsistent experiences with their clients and customers.
  3. You can’t imagine anyone ever wanting to buy your business. If you were to be abducted by aliens, would your business have any value? If not, look at ways to add valuable assets or equity in your business.  Real businesses have value beyond what their owners have to offer.

If you’re thinking right now that your business may not really be a business, it’s time to restructure your business model so it is both profitable and sustainable.

Over 90% of franchises are successful while only about 50% to 60% of independent start-ups are successful.  Independent start-ups tend to struggle more because they aren’t handed proven business models and systems like franchises.  You can escape that struggle, however, if you take the time to build a rock-solid business.

I’d love to hear how you’re building a real, bonafide, rock-solid business. Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Do you need help getting more sales and serving more people? Click here to sign up for your Complimentary Profits and Impact Session.

About Tiffany deSilva

Tiffany deSilva is the founder, CEO, and visionary leader of BrightFire Women’s Business Network, LLC.

BrightFire Women’s Business Network is the premiere sales training and coaching resource for service-based women entrepreneurs who want to increase their sales, serve more people, and change more lives.

Feedback & Comments:

  1. You motivated me to train one of my team members on drop box yesterday so she can handle things while I’m out of town.

    • That’s awesome, Jessica! Not only does it help businesess run more smoothly while you’re away, but it also allows you to relax a little more and truly enjoy yourself knowing things are being taken care of.

  2. Tiffany, thanks for the great ideas that I will share with my team just like Jessica is. We are currently working to build systems.

  3. Multiple streams of income are great, but it takes time to develop them. I also suggest looking at longer-term programs that are charged not by the hour but by the project.

    • Definitely agree with not defaulting to charging by the hour. Most people put off adding an additional revenue stream too long or try to build programs that don’t match their stage in business. You really have to build your business model out in the very beginning and adjust or redesign as you grow.

  4. Great points. It’s amazing how many people treat “business” like a hobby.
    Write on!~

  5. The last point is a really great one “You can’t imagine anyone ever wanting to buy your business”!

  6. Many years ago I heard two ‘life coaches’ speaking with each other about their respective ‘businesses’. They were sharing information about raising their hourly rates from $25 per hour to $30 an hour and they were worried they would lose clients.
    I never returned to another meeting held by this networking group.

  7. Theresa Cloud Eagle Nelson says:

    Wonderful tips. If one is a serious entrepreneur you are consistently working to build not only your business but your self-worth. That plays a bit part in making your business a viable one. Many people who want to own a business aren’t cut out for the job.

  8. #3 took me by surprised. I had never even thought about that as I’ve been building my business. Something new to consider and add to my strategy sessions.

  9. Heidi Alexandra says:

    Such a great discussion and blog post – #3 is definitely one that is overlooked by so many. I love Brad Sugars saying that a business is “A commercial and profitable enterprise that works without me there.”

  10. Great list!! And, it is always great to think about. I believe many folks who believe they are running a business are actually providing a service — exactly because (as Heidi points out) their “business” COULD NOT exist without them.



    Katherine C. H. E.
    Author, Be True Rich

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