Throughout 2013, I kept a list of what others taught me about small business from their perspective. Stated below are several entries about owning, managing and operating a business. Some entries are encouraging and enlightening; some are sobering and disheartening. As I peruse the entries, I find it interesting how many of them are applicable to career transition and/or looking for a job. Please feel free to add your own thoughts based upon your life experience of building a small business.
I wish someone would have told me…
…that performing due diligence is worth it.
…that starting a business is harder than you might think.
…that building a business will take longer than anticipated.
…that you will earn each and every new wrinkle.
…that customers are fickle.
…that rejection is everywhere you turn. You just have to deal with it.
…that timing is everything.
…that having sales ability is an asset in launching a new business.
…that the person you thought had your back may not.
…that borrowing money from family members and friends can destroy relationships.
…that it is best not to invest any more than you can stand to lose.
…that a customer will love you one day and leave you the next.
…that a perception exists: if you own a business, you must be rich.
…that you get hit up for everything when you own a business.
…that it would be a good idea to make a list of reasons why you want to start a business; then make another list of why you don’t. Go with the one that’s the longest.
…that running a business and running a profitable business are two separate things.
…that working 24/7 isn’t all that cool.
…that working for someone is a piece of cake in comparison to working on your own.
…that doing your own thing is exciting and exhausting.
…that worrying about where the next dollar will come from is an everyday occurrence.
…that some people aren’t wired to own a business – it’s just not in their DNA.
…that you are always thinking about your business even when you are not doing your business.
…that losing sleep and being tired go with the territory of doing your own thing.
…that odds are not in your favor of making it in your own business.
…that the customer is not always right.
…that calling your own shots comes with a price.
…that negotiation goes hand-in-hand with business ownership.
…that people expect you will do something or give them something “for free.”
…that healthy habits in your personal and professional life can make or break your business.
…that the best thing about owning your own business is no one can fire you.
…that you don’t want to rely upon one single customer to produce the bulk of your revenue; things change too quickly in today’s market.
…that everything you buy for your business costs more than expected.
…that the business plan you had in mind may not be the one that keeps you afloat.
…that you have to be everything and do everything on your own until you can afford to hire help, which means that something is going to slide.
…that you have to be super-organized to juggle all the balls.
…that if you need a lot of structure and order, owning a business may not be a good fit for you.
…that constant change is the name of the game – you have to be nimble and quick.
…that starting a business is the best decision I ever made.
…that you need to get very clear about what and how much you are willing to sacrifice to make your business work.
…that you need to be savvy enough to know when it’s time to get out/bail out before it is too late and you lose everything.
…that your business may plod along and that you may struggle day after day to make ends meet.
…that the responsibility can be overwhelming.
…that you can lose your entire life savings if things don’t work out.
…that your business may become wildly successful, far beyond what you had imagined.