Business Is Not Kabuki Theater

Business Is Not Kabuki Theater

© Dmitrijs Gerciks - Fotolia.comBusiness Is Not Kabuki Theater … or … the biggest reason why your business dream is turning into your biggest nightmare.

Did having your own business start out as a dream?  And then take a slow, depressing turn for the worst and you can’t figure out how or why that happened?  When you look at it, does your business look more like bad “kabuki theater?”  (Officially, “kabuki” means “dreamlike time shrouded in mist but ever present in the subconscious.”  Unofficially, it means “unreal, nothing like what I expected.”)

If so, this is going to be some tough love.  But, since I know you’re committed to your long-term financial well-being, maybe it’s time to remove the blinders?  Let’s see how this evolved.

Day One

You’re in business.

You have a domain name and an idea.

You’ve read that you should pick something you already know about … or are passionate about.  Your friends think your idea is perfect.

You are so excited; you can’t wait until your website is up.  And until you start selling some of the books and courses you’re already writing in your head.

You’ve wanted to do this forever.  “My business.”  “I’m in business.”

You’ve invested in several online courses that have taught you the basics.  Step by step.  1-2-3.   How to set up a site, what programs to use and the ideal social media to support your efforts.  The best part is that it’s not so expensive to get a business going online …

You’ve even flown out to a few conferences and are building a bunch of friendships around this new adventure.  (You don’t want to feel like the Lone Ranger, all alone in front of your computer.)

Month Seven

You’re building your different lists like crazy, future customers, no doubt.  You have Twitter followers.  Your Facebook friends list is growing.  Your fan page is getting lots of “likes.”  You’ve discovered Pinterest and have fallen in love with pinning and sharing images with friends and potential clients.

Between writing blog post articles, publishing ebooks, doing some video to market your services, tweeting, keeping Facebook active  … whew, where does the day go?

And at night, you have those super-important webinars and teleseminars to listen to.  You have to stay on the cutting edge of what’s working.  But why do they have to be over an hour long?

You are so busy.

But why aren’t you making any money?

Reality Check

•    Your busy-ness does not mean you are in business.

•    Rarely does a start-up business equal instant gratification.

•    A business starts with a business plan, marketing strategy, budget and exit plan.

So What’s Gone Wrong?

Before the internet, starting a business meant renting physical space, paying deposits, getting telephone lines, buying equipment, printing business cards and letterhead, maybe even brochures.

It cost a bunch of money.

So before starting a business, people thought twice.  They put together a plan and a budget.  They tested the market.  They talked to their accountant.  Maybe they even took out a small business loan and had to justify the numbers with their friendly banker.

But those expensive (and inconvenient) barriers to entry have disappeared.

Today most people never bother to develop a simple business plan.  They don’t think through their marketing strategy, including their competitive advantage.  Forget actually putting together a budget.  And an exit plan?  One that ensures that the business you’re building today can be sold when you’re ready to exit?  Who thinks that far ahead?

The True Cost

While the monthly costs associated with running a computer-based business may seem minor, what is not minor is the time and heart invested in something that faces handicaps from the outset.  What’s worse, if not being run like a serious business, there are no metrics in place … no firm goals and objectives to know if you’re failing or succeeding.  “I’ll just keep going one more month …”

The true cost?  Not only are you not moving towards your long-term financial security.  You’re possibly even going in the opposite direction:  eating into savings … somehow borrowing from Peter to pay Paul … not even factoring in the value of your own time.  And, for someone who is striving to reach financial freedom and peace of mind in her life, that’s just not good enough.  So here goes:

My No-Excuses Mantra #1

If you’re in business, be sure it’s a real business.  If it’s not, accept that it’s a hobby.  And go get a job.

If you believe you do have a real business and just want to firm up some numbers, objectives, strategies, etc., ask me about my No-Excuses New Wealth Program.

And, whatever you have, do share any “aha!” thoughts in the Comments section below.


Bio: Sharon O’Day lost everything at age 53: her home, her business, everything. But how could that be? She’s an expert in global finance and marketing with an MBA from the Wharton School. She has worked with governments, corporations and individuals … yes, she was the secret “weapon,” if you will, behind many individuals in high places. Yet she did! Since then, with her finances completely turned around, Sharon has gone on to interview countless women. She’s done extensive research to understand how that could have happened, especially with her strong knowledge of numbers and finance.

The surprising answers are shared in her posts and articles. Today her mission is to show as many women as possible how to reach true wealth through her coaching programs. She has developed a step-by-step plan to get past all the obstacles that keep women broke and scared … and from reaching the financial peace of mind they so deserve … if they’re willing to do what it takes!

  • Very True and Factual info. that some miss out on… Thanks for sharing this important wisdom n Wake up..

    • I hope it will be a wake-up call for some, Carly! Sometimes the dream is strong enough that it clouds over our good judgment …

  • Great post once again Sharon!Definitely agree! “If you’re in business, be sure it’s a real business. If it’s not, accept that it’s a hobby. And go get a job.”

    • Having a j-o-b (as they say) is so “denigrated” … but for many it’s the most rational way to launch a new business … while having some income. The important message is that it isn’t so easy to get a business to the point where it’s generating sufficient income …

  • This message needs to be shouted from the rooftops! It’s fine to have a hobby. But, if you need income, you need a reasonable plan outlining how your business is going to provide it. And that can’t be pie-in-the-sky numbers. You need measurable objectives and you need to know how long you can afford to support your business. (And, really, you should start your business while still employed if you can.)

    • My sentiments exactly, Lynn! My online activities were launched while I did other things to generate income … and I STILL do them!

  • This is such an important message, Sharon. And as you wrote, today people don’t have to do the basics to determine whether it’s even a viable idea, let alone worth the cash investment (or lost earnings), coupled with a realistic idea of how long they can hold out while their business gets going. Additionally, with the internet so crowded with hundreds of thousands blogs and fan pages and similar business models, the competition to rise to the top is even greater. Thanks for another great post.

    • We’ve gone from an internet that was the Wild, Wild West … where it was easy to rise to the top … to one of tremendous competition. As you say, Lisa, that raises the bar of what you need to do to succeed … which, in turn, makes the need for strategic planning even greater!

  • I loved this, Sharon. It gave me flashbacks! I was definitely guilty of thinking my busy-ness was me growing my business way back when I started my first coaching business. I was pretty clueless in the beginning and learned a lot of hard lessons. I could have used this advice back then, it’s a must read for all newbies – and even those folks who’ve been in business for a while and can’t understand whey they aren’t making any money.

    • Thanks, Ruth, for sharing how this played out for you. From what I can see, you have indeed mastered those lessons. Brava! 😉

  • Such real-world wisdom! In the beginning, I experienced information overload to the max. The one smart thing I did was hire an experienced coach. I immediately eliminated the busyness and got down to the business of being in business. It’s made all the difference!

    • Picking the right coach to get you past that ‘distracted action’ is so important, Martha. Congratulations on having done so!

  • You have no idea Sharon how timely this article this is! This is just what I need to help explain the business side of writing to my husband. You explain it so much better than I!

    • Happy to help, Carolyn! You are so insightful in your explanations of emotions … which you share so generously. So if I can help with explanations of business, wonderful! 😉

  • Thank you Sharon for these good tips. I feel really blessed to have a strong business! It is fun to know what we are sending out to the world is appreciated and coming back to us! I am an “overnight success” that has been at it for 18 years.