The Inner Schizophrenia of Small Business Owners

One of the challenges of us small entrepreneurs is that we are our own investor, our own entrepreneur, our own manager and our own employee at the same time. And those four roles often tell us quite different things to do. And then there is our human side, which might also tell us different things to do. 🙂

Here’s a fictional example:

Inner Employee to Inner Manager:
“I need to go home now. My family needs me and it would be bad for my health to work late hours again.”
Inner Manager to Inner Employee:
“You know that we have a deadline today that’s of strategic importance for the company.”
Inner Employee to Inner Manager:
“Ok Ok, got it, I stay longer and finish it.
But this is an exception and the last time I do that.”
Inner Manager to Inner Employee:
“OK, thank you.” (to himself: “He’ll do that again and again. Ignore the whining.”)
Inner Investor to All:
“Hey guys, your business is a dog business. This will never get anywhere. That’s why you have to work so much. It’s time to exit and do something that makes real money.”
Inner Human to Inner Investor:
“My customers depend on me and count on me. They are my friends. I cannot let them alone.”
Inner CEO to Inner Investor:
“You have no idea about the detail work that’s necessary to get a new business off ground. If we close this “dog”-business we’ll likely be without any business. Investor, you don’t have enough money for us. We cannot start another business on a shoe-string capital like that.”
Inner Manager and and Inner Employee to the Investor:
“The CEO is right. It’s too much work to start another business. We don’t have enough capital for that. It’s even more work than the CEO is aware of.”
Inner Investor to All:
“There must be a way. What about cutting salary in half until this gets momentum?”
All others to the Investor:
“We are already working for half salary for 3 months now. We can’t go below that. Think about cost of living.”
Inner Wise Old Man:
“Let’s go to bed guys. Tomorrow morning we’ll meditate and think before any of these electronic devices, email and social media create fog in our brain. There must be solution to all of this.”

Next day in the morning

Inner Wise Old Man:
“Good morning guys. Listen to the Inner Human. He’s the most grounded of you guys. In our morning thinking-time we’ll find a way to make our already good business great for us and for our customers.

There is a star-potential in most so-called “dogs”. And BTW, most of our businesses are question-marks with star-potential. No idea why the investor is so pessimistic and calls them “dogs”. Look at the niches that we are in, instead of looking just at the broader market. Our niches are growing between 12% and 22% per year.

Also, there is much more to business than just the investor perspective. What about the higher mission of a business? What about the spiritual aspects of running a business? What about creating something that matters and improves people’s lives?

And why stop something existing when you want to start something new? 2017 is about combining things which traditionally looked like being mutually exclusive. So we keep the existing stuff and start something new on the side. Once this makes money, we can add employees to the business to handle the additional work.

Please note that we already run multiple businesses. Time to educate the Inner Investor of everything that’s going on here, in his language. He might have interesting insights for us, then.”

You see how many complex thoughts and conflict are already going on in the head of a small entrepreneur. And that dialog illustrates just the tip of the iceberg.

That’s why we cannot afford to watch the news or surf on Facebook or watch TV. Or engage in small-talk for hours. Our brain cannot afford to process rubbish like that.

That’s why we need our Digital Insanity Index to be as low as possible. That’s why programs like “30 day reboot” are so important for us. Nobody else understands that. And that’s fine.

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