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That Business Owner Feeling!

Every now and then on this blog I like to try and give people glimpse into my world. I know that when I was a salesperson I was a little intimidated by people with titles like President or CEO, and perhaps understanding them a little better dispels some of the mystique.

A couple of things going on today that struck me as worth sharing (1) The Year End process and (2) The Risks of business ownership.

1. Year end! Eagle's fiscal year ends August 31st and so this time of year finds me with a plethora of commitments that are different than the every day "running" of the business. The planning process for the new fiscal year tends to run on deep into this first month as we refine and revisit numbers, plans and goals for the year. We have to gear up the team for the new year and debrief them on the past year, learn lessons and adjust to changing conditions to ensure that our strategy will be successful. There are reports to produce for the government and the banks, information for shareholders and company directors to prepare and the annual board meeting to prepare.

The size of your company has a big impact on the effort required. The good news is that we are not a public company and so the reporting requirements can be contained, but still need to satisfy good governance rules to satisfy our shareholders. The bad news is that we are big enough that the process requires a ton of work and attention, but we don't have a small army of workers to do it for us.

I'm lucky to have a seasoned senior management team that carry the load, but it still means long hours and slipped deadlines as we cope with our regular day jobs in addition to the year end stuff.

So ... if your client is a little testy at certain times of the year, this might be why!

2. Risks of Business Ownership! Owning your own business is very rewarding professionally, and if you have some success then it can also be financially rewarding. Every now and then we are reminded of just how fragile that success can be.

One of my managers was on an HR course today and learned about some of the legal minefields that business owners can find themselves in. It seems that increasingly people are not held accountable for their own actions, rather there needs to be someone to blame and pay out in compensation! The famous spilled hot coffee story where the complainant won their case and lots of money was the tip of the iceberg. The stories from my HR manager were blood curdling and make you wonder why we take on the risks of a business when a poor management decision by one of our managers could cost us our company. Luckily it hasn't happened yet ... but I guess I have to hold my breath!

These last couple of weeks we have seen some of the biggest names in the US financial services industry either get scooped up in a fire sale, go bankrupt or be appropriated by the government. Wow ... if it can happen to them, what about us?

Business owners like to think that they are building healthy operating companies that are their equity and nest egg for the future, but really it is a fairly fragile world in which we operate.

Anyone care to be an entrepreneur?