Somehow people think that starting a small business is easy, but on the contrary, it requires a lot of work and attention. Even the smallest mistake and all your effort and the time you invested in this go down the drain. That’s why before starting anything you need to make sure that everything on your to-do list is already marked as finished.
The product or service that you will be offering to the market, doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be unique. But what you do need is to have a market that is ready to pay for it, otherwise, you won’t be able to sell a single thing. Nonetheless, this will result in a quick failure, even before you start.
At the end of the day, everything falls on your shoulders. Even if it’s not “your responsibility,” it’s all you’re responsible. It’s a career path not meant for everyone — and those that pursue it for themselves can all relate to each other in some very fundamental ways.
Whether you’re running a restaurant, or a marketing agency, or a bicycle shop, there are some underlying truths to what it means to be a small business owner.
Similarly, if you’ve ever worked for a start-up or a small company, even as an employee you see first-hand what it takes to maintain an efficient, profitable business — and it takes a lot.
- “Say Yes — And Figure It Out Later.”
When it comes to entrepreneurship, there is a very common mentality among business leaders that doesn’t get talked about a whole lot — probably because it can be easily misinterpreted:
“Say Yes — and Figure It Out Later.”
Especially if you’re running a small business strapped for cash, sometimes you have no choice but to take whatever is in front of you — even if you aren’t completely sure how you’re going to pull it off — and figure it out as you go.
You’d be surprised how often this is the case.
Even big companies do this, to a certain degree. On the outside, it’s bright and shiny and seemingly the only calm ship at sea. But inside? It’s havoc, everyone running around with their heads cut off trying to figure out how to make the deal work.
Don’t take this the wrong way — it’s just part of the game.
Especially when your company is in its growing years, you aren’t going to have all the answers or all your processes perfectly set in stone.
- There’s A Difference Between An “Employee” And A Valuable Asset
If you are running a company with less than ten, or twenty, or even fifty people, every person matters — every single one (and I mean this in a business sense — obviously we all matter *hugs all around*.)
This is very different than the big corporate offices where someone new could get hired in Accounting and they could go unnoticed for weeks.
As a small business owner, you need people who are going to be go-getters. People who will realize that there isn’t the time or the resources for them to just “get by.”
- Cash Is What Matters
As a mentor of mine has said many times,
“All that matters is cash. Without cash, your company will die.” Not company outings, or events, or any of the bells-and-whistles other companies tend to spend so much energy on unless those things are going to generate you cash.
Without cash, you won’t make payroll.
And if you can’t make payroll, you won’t have any employees.
- Pay Your Employees No Matter What
I’ll be the first to admit this is a lesson that has been passed on to me by several close friends of mine who own their own businesses. You have to pay your employees on time.
It goes without saying that following through with your promise to pay them for their work when you said you were going to pay them is always at the top of your priority list.
If you can’t follow through with your promise, how do you expect them to follow the work you need them to do to keep your company running?
- 5. 9–5 Doesn’t Exist
Owning your own business is not a job.
It’s really not even a career. It’s a lifestyle decision, very similar to those who go to the gym every day and eat extremely healthfully. To them, it’s not an activity. It’s just part of their lifestyle. Yes, you step away when you need to. Yes, you manage your own energy output and you take care of yourself as a human being — always. But the truth is, if work has to be done and it’s late at night, you get it done.
If you don’t get it done and you have to be up early, you get up early. If something unfortunate happens, no matter the hour, it’s on you.
- Every Business Owner Needs an Ear
There are absolutely those who think that owning their own business is all about being the “Number 1” person. They want to be in the driver’s seat — and they want everyone else to know it.
Every business owner needs an ear. Someone they can talk to, bounce ideas off, voice their concerns, gain feedback, and make more educated decisions. If you don’t have that, you are at a very clear disadvantage.
It’s the very reason why some companies have advisory boards.
- You’re Both The Buyer And The Marketer
Small businesses are the ones that struggle with marketing the most — and yet they’re the ones who understand their business, products, and services better than anyone.
The #1 issue business owners run into when it comes to marketing are Time. They just don’t have the time. However, they also may or may not have the budget to hire an agency or even a freelancer to help them.
It’s a catch-22 that every small business owner faces. And unfortunately, there are only three options:
- Make the investment and hire someone to do it.
- Don’t do it at all.
- Make the time and do it yourself.
- Business Owners Like To Help Business Owners
Owning your own business is a rite of passage — and those that have lived or are living it are very willing to share their knowledge and help others who either want to one day own their own business or are currently in it.
I’m amazed at how many people are willing to open up and share everything they know, simply because they want to help other people avoid similar mistakes.
If you are a business owner, don’t forget: You are part of a community.
Tap in, and continue to grow and learn from others, so that you don’t have to learn everything the hard way.