As Hurricane Irma did her dirty work across the Caribbean, one man decided to stay in her path and ride out the storm. Granted, that man was Sir Richard Branson and he was able to hole up in a very secure cellar on Necker Island. When Inc. told the story of how Branson wasn’t moving out the path of the hurricane, the article praised him for his bravery and for standing in solidarity with the people that couldn’t actually leave. Jeff Haden, the article’s author, surmised, “To me, that’s why Sir Richard is staying on Necker Island. Staying means more to him than leaving. Experiences mean more to him than fear. And there’s one other thing: He’s irrationally optimistic. And that’s likely why he’s so successful.”
That got us here at AF Accounting thinking about our own clients. As an accounting firm serving the entrepreneurial community, we get a first-hand look at what goes on behind the scenes of small businesses, from their humble beginnings through to their growth and success – and sometimes failure. Here is what we’ve learned about what it takes to be an entrepreneur, even if your name isn’t Sir Richard Branson.
You have to know when to get out of the small business
Not every idea is going to be successful and at some point you have to either put more resources into your business, or get out. The notion of holding on at all costs can, well, really cost you. It can cost you your finances, your family, your colleagues and your social life – and you need those things in order to be truly successful. All entrepreneurs make sacrifices, but you need to have a clear line on when enough is enough. Sir Richard’s staying on Necker Island wasn’t a sacrifice, nor was it particularly risky. He had the resources to back up his plan, and he also sheltered those on his team.
You have to think about the greater good
Those early penny pinching days are not the time you want to think about writing large cheques for community events. However, being an active part of the community that supports your business is very important. Money is not the only thing you can offer. Your time (volunteering), mentorship and even donations of your products can be considered. In the case or Sir Richard Branson, he stayed partly because others couldn’t leave, then he used his resources to show the world the aftermath, and to appeal for help for those that need it. He plans to use his influence to speak with aid and government agencies on behalf of the many that have lost their homes and livelihoods in the British Virgin Islands.
You have to enjoy what you created
At some point your small business may very well be successful, but like any true entrepreneur, you likely have not slowed down one little bit. What’s around the next corner? What if I add this to my product line? Should I expand the business? Don’t forget to take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labour. This is what you worked hard for – take a breather for your sake and for the sakes of those around you. The company won’t collapse if you have a weekend away. Sir Richard Branson plays as hard as he works because he knows a well-rounded life filled with friends, fun and adventure mean you will be even more motivated and effective when you’re on the clock.
As we have seen time and time again with our clients, owing a small business is not for the faint of heart, but for those who dare, it can be a truly rewarding experience. Do you have what it takes? Consult with us and learn the ins and outs of business accounting and what tools, like Xero, we offer to help make your business run smoothly. We champion success, and we get a feeling Sir Branson would be rooting for you too.