The 10 Competitive Commandments of Small Business

The 10 Competitive Commandments of Small Business:-

  1. Thou shalt work Monday-Sunday, and on bank holidays.
  2. Thou shalt get up before daybreak and retire in the wee small hours.
  3. Thou shalt sacrifice family time and thine own quality of life.
  4. Thou shalt foreswear social life and time alone with your partner.
  5. Thou shalt be perpetually crabbit and knackert
  6. Thou shalt make thyself available telephonically and electronically at all times of day and night, 365 days of the year.
  7. Thou shalt never wander far from wi-fi
  8. Thou shalt not have a holiday for years and years.
  9. Thou shalt eat, sleep and dream business.
  10. Verily, thou shalt work like a dog to make millions (or even just a few quid)


Or at least, that’s what the 10 Commandments of Running A Business come across like to this entrepreneurial apprentice. But long before I even joined the dedicated disciples (of small business ownership), I was well aware of a degree of competitiveness amongst captains of commerce, which seems to suggest that a truly brutal degree of self-sacrifice is required if you want your business to have any chance of success.

Of course, this Monty Pythonesque oneupmanship is not unique to the world of self-employment and business ownership. Believe me, in the world of paid work there’s plenty of boasting and bravado about long, unsocial hours spent with nose to the grindstone, woeful working conditions and an AWOL work/life balance too. Even the laziest slackers and skivers talk a good game about how hard they’re grafting (and worse, quite a high percentage of that lot actually believe they’re putting a serious shift in).

Make no mistake, I have sometimes found myself joining in with the best of the boasters – it’s amazing how easy it is to get drawn into this childish competitiveness. But the bumping of gums about how terribly, terribly hard we are working – whether for ourselves or for The Man – just disnae sit right for this wee wordsmith.

Yes, running your own business probably means racking up some serious shifts. After all, there’s nothing quite like the need to feed the family to focus the mind. For me, sole trading does sometimes mean working long hours, and getting stuck into it at the ends of the day when others are still in the land of nod, or winding down with a G&T. Yes, it can mean missing Breaking Bad or copping out from a carry-on with the kids after dinner. And yes, it can mean taking a mobile and a laptop away for long weekends, and having to miss out on family time and social life.

But surely it doesn’t always have to be like that? Surely as a sole trader, SME, limited company, partnership or even multi-national, there’s still scope for having a decent quality of life as well as running a business? Do we really need to play by the rules of self-sacrifice and extreme (and often ineffective) hard graft?

Let’s face it, this business malarkey is bad enough with its profound, and largely self-inflicted, pressure to succeed. So right from the start of start-up I decided that I was not playing by those rules. My own health, happiness and quality of life are just as important as making a success of the business, and without the former there won’t be a business anyway. Being my own boss means that I get to make the decisions about how hard I work, how well I work, and when.

So yes, I am putting some real blood, sweat, tears and graft into making my business work. But I’m making damn sure I do so by sticking, as well as I possibly can, to my own set of simple rules.

  1. Work hard, work well
  2. Switch off
  3. Take time out
  4. Have fun
  5. Laugh and cry
  6. Love and share
  7. Stay calm
  8. Breathe deep
  9. Rest easy
  10. Be me


Because, I for one, am just not into keeping up with the (Peter) Joneses.