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Mark Evans

Things that bug me about running my own business Add to ...

Running a business is great but it’s not all good times. There are hiccups, aggravations, hiccups, disappointments and just stuff that bugs you.

Here’s a list of the things that rank high on my list of the bothersome:

1. Unpaid invoices or clients that takes months to pay

It’s a simple proposition: You do the work, and clients fulfill their side of the bargain by sending a cheque shortly afterward. At the end of the end, everyone is happy.

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When a client doesn’t pay or takes way too long to come up with payment, that ranks high on the things that bug me list.

Clients may have their reasons for not paying but if you have done the work, it had better be a really good reason.

Yes, I know this may be idealistic but it doesn’t change the aggravation when payments are slow in coming or don’t come at all.

2. Having too little or too much work

It is funny how business can be roaring like a lion or quiet as a mouse.

As much as it would be nice for business to sit nicely in the middle, this isn’t often the case.

As a result, you have to learn to accept the cyclical swings as a fact of business life.

3. Too much e-mail

As much as you can try to have a system to manage e-mail, it keeps on coming, and coming.

Just as the inbox gets whittled down to a manageable size, it builds right back up again.

Sometimes, there is so much e-mail, the easiest thing to do is to ignore it, or just look at the those that matter the most.

That’s not the best system but it can make business easier.

4. Working when I think I should be prospecting, and prospecting when I think I should be working

It’s a never-ending battle between doing the work and getting the work.

Again, it’s a tough balancing act. The reality is that both are necessary because business doesn’t work if you’re not getting business and doing it.

5. Working too many hours, or weekends

It’s a good thing to be the master of your domain but running your own business also means it’s no 9 to 5 proposition. It’s a 24/7 proposition that can be difficult to turn off or walk away from.

The trick is not letting things get too out of hand so they have a major effect on your personal and family life.

6. Almost agreements

These are agreements with potential clients that seem on track to be finalized, but the final approval can take weeks and, sometimes, months to materialize.

7. Paperwork

Like many business owners, I’m good at doing business but not as good as I need to be about running the business. That explains why receipts get thrown into a basket, bills gather dust, and tracking invoices sometimes takes a back seat.

So what are the things that bother you about running your own business? Just as important, how do you keep things under control?

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mark Evans is the principal with ME Consulting, a communications and marketing strategic consultancy that works with startups and fast-growing companies to create compelling and effective messaging to drive their sales and marketing activities. Mark has worked with four startups – Blanketware, b5Media, PlanetEye and Sysomos. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshmarketing and meshwest conferences.

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