Small Business Is It Time to Send Your Out-of-control Small Business to Brat

Remember when your business was an infant? It was cute and cuddly and lots of fun. But somewhere along the way the infant became an out of control adolescent and started ruining your life. Is there any hope or should you just ship your spoiled brat off to Brat Camp?

Caroline Jordan, small business consultant and mentor, and owner of her own sometimes misbehaving business, The Jordan Result, has this to say about businesses that just won’t behave:

“Building a business is a lot like raising kids. You have to keep the upper hand or you’ll suddenly find yourself asking, ‘When did I lose control?’ I see many business owners who are frustrated and in despair over the way their businesses have taken over their lives. Many of us become self employed because we want more control over our lives but often what happens is the business takes over and business owners find themselves working constantly and never feeling like they’re getting anywhere.”

Jordan offers these tips for owners of bratty small businesses:

1. Take a time out. You can’t think clearly if you’re in the midst of chaos and despair. Go for a walk, have an ice cream cone, take a day off. The business will still be there when you get back.

2. Breathe and Count to Ten. When fear and desperation start to well up, you tense up and start feeling like your life is unraveling before your very eyes. No one ever makes good business decisions from a point of fear. Go do something that makes you feel confident.

3. Take your business out to the wood shed. You remember the woodshed? That place where you got an attitude adjustment…That’s where your business needs to go. Remind it and yourself in no uncertain terms that YOU are the one calling the shots.

4. Set boundaries. Decide how many hours you can physically and emotionally work each week. Take the number of hours you can work and the tasks that must get done each week, decide which tasks have to be performed by you personally. Delegate the rest to an employee, a subcontractor, or a family member.

5. Remember what your real work is. When you’re raising kids your real work is to teach them how to take care of themselves without you. It’s the same thing with your business. Start to develop a plan to get your business to a point where it can operate even if you’re not there.

6. Dealing with a whiny business. When your business starts whining and wheedling and trying to get you to let loose the reins again, sit it down and firmly explain that you are in charge and you are following a plan that you will not deviate from.

7. Call in the cavalry. If your business still won’t behave, get expert help fast. Most business owners wait until too late to get help. Most business failures are preventable with early intervention.

About the author: For more tips on taking control of your business and becoming part of the “No Business Left Behind” club, visit