Happy New Year! With the new year comes new opportunities, and of course, new challenges. This is the time of year that we all assess where we finished up last year in our business and personal lives, make adjustments, and set new goals. It is great to put all that we have done behind us, learn from our mistakes, and take pride in our accomplishments.

One of the mistakes I see business owners make, is that they beat themselves up over not hitting their goals, missing opportunities, and/or making errors. Many then lower their goals, dwell on their failures, and lessen their expectations. Many business owners may feel like they are being held hostage by their business and their employees.

Yesterday, I read a Facebook post from a business owner that I admire, and I was shocked. This is a very well-known, successful business that most of us know and love, and would just have assumed that the owner was doing great. He had sold his business a few years ago, and yesterday, he admitted that he was being held hostage by it. Looking back, he stated that getting out of the business was the best move he ever made. The stress of running his own business for thirty years took a toll on him.

So how do we avoid this as business owners? There are many strategies, and all I can do is share mine. Yes, being a business owner is very stressful. There is nobody to turn to when things are on the line; it is all ultimately up to you as the owner. You have no boss to turn to, you can’t just call in sick, and you take your business with you wherever you go – on vacation, to your kids’ games, even to your holiday dinner table.

The only thing that you can do to limit this stress is to surround yourself with a support network that can help you. First is your spouse – they need to be all in to help you, and understand that the business is what takes care of your families, and then funds your retirement when you sell it.

The next is your team. I don’t consider my team employees; they are all partners in my business. I give them the authority to make decisions to improve the business, so they either buy into our culture of taking care of clients and hitting our goals, or they leave the team. 2022 was a challenging year for all of us. I learned a big lesson about my team and turned over most of my staff. They are all great people, and left on good terms with me, but they all just didn’t share that vision, and followed other opportunities. I had to work harder in the business to replace them and train the new team on what our culture is all about. After going through many interviews and letting people go who I could tell weren’t going to fit after the hire, I now have team members who so far are all in.

Another important group of people that you need to surround yourself with is fellow businesspeople who are in similar situations as you. Whether it is a networking group, a social group, or the Chamber of Commerce, there are people around you who understand what you are going through, and they can help and provide valuable advice. Our goal for the Chamber in our 75th year is to be that resource for all our members. We are going to be providing education, events, networking, and roundtables to help our fellow business owners and managers get through 2023. The reason being a business owner can be so rewarding financially is because it is so tough, and a big risk. Many businesses fail because they don’t reach out for the help they need. The Chamber of Commerce is here to provide help and resources to all our business owners, whether they operate, live, or just service the Massapequas.

Happy New Year again to all! Let’s make 2023 our best year yet!

Robert Zabbia, President
Massapequa Chamber of Commerce