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Can We Talk You Out of Owning Your Own Business?

questions Intuit, the makers of QuickBooks software, conducted a study of working adults [doc] not long ago. They found that 67 percent think about quitting their jobs regularly or constantly, while 72 percent said they want to start their own business. The number one reason cited for this was to be more passionate about their work.

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The participants were asked who inspired them: Donald Trump (38%) and Hugh Hefner (34%) were the top choices for men; Oprah Winfrey received 66% of the women’s vote.

That response made us think – there are misperceptions of what it means to own a business; what an entrepreneur faces day-to-day. There’s the Hollywood version, but it often doesn’t reflect the real world.

5 common myths about owning your own business


#1 – I won’t have to answer to a boss.

While technically true, it’s not accurate in practice. The reality is that, as a business owner, you answer to every customer by you and your firm. You answer to your banker if you borrow money. The government will require you to do certain things by certain times. As a business owner, you won’t have a boss; you’ll have many bosses!

#2 – I set my own hours.
You’ve probably seen or heard the ads. Just buy this business opportunity – you’ll hardly have to work and the money will just pour in. If only it worked that way! You may enjoy a great deal of flexibility as a business owner. However, you’ll probably work more than you ever imagined, especially in the early stages of your business.

#3 – I can get my employees to do the grunt work.
Many new business owners – formerly part of the corporate world – have trouble adjusting to the lack of resources that are inherent in many start-ups. They were used to having “people” who did certain things. Start-ups can’t afford extra people; many can’t afford people at all! You’ll have to get used to doing a lot of things, if not everything, yourself, even the dirty work.

#4 – I’ll make more money.

Start-ups consume money; there often isn’t much to spare. You may not get a regular paycheck at first. You’ll have to build up the business to afford that “luxury”.

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georgeWhen I was younger, I couldn’t find anyone willing to pay me what I thought I was worth. So I started my own business … I quickly realized that I couldn’t afford to pay me what I thought I was worth!

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#5 – I’ll have less stress than I do with my job.

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marylynn As a first-time entrepreneur, I’ve learned that stress hits from many angles – clients with deadlines, so much work to get done, and worries when things don’t go as planned. I’ve learned to be much tougher mentally and emotionally.

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All of this reminds us of Jackson Browne’s song, The Load Out …“They’re the first to come, and the last to leave, working for that minimum wage.”

In the song, he’s talking about roadies. But we wonder … couldn’t he be describing start-up entrepreneurs?

When your business is in the start-up phase, it’s like a newborn baby. You have to nurture it and care for it until it reaches the point where it doesn’t need you so much anymore. Prepare yourself for a five-year horizon before you start.

If starting a business doesn’t sound so good anymore, we feel like we’ve done our job. You won’t face the financial, and more importantly, the emotional turmoil that comes with a start-up.

However, if you’re now more determined than ever to start a business, you’ve passed a critical test. You can’t be talked out of it. You’ve peered beyond the popular and romantic view of business ownership. You’re starting to see it as it really is. You’re ready to become an entrepreneur!

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Next time, we’ll discuss the art of knowing yourself. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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3 Strategies Small Businesses Can Use to Gain an Advantage in Bad Times

A recent study by Intuit, the software giant behind QuickBooks, Quicken, and TurboTax, found that three-fourths of small business owners expect to grow this year, in spite of all the talk about a recession, corporate layoffs, and consumers cutting back.

Now, it’s probably safe to say that small business owners are a relatively optimistic group. Part of their optimism, though, comes from that fact that two-thirds of the people surveyed said they had survived a recession before. They’ve done it by putting their customers first and focusing on their finances.

georgeWhen I first started studying entrepreneurship, my perception was that large companies created the jobs. Our colleges train us to work in bigg business. It’s true that large companies tend to hire a lot of people during boom times, as do small companies. But during tough economic times, large companies cut back. Interestingly, small companies tend to pretty much hold their own.

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marylynn If you’re keeping an eye on the news, you see that a lot of large companies are cutting marketing and even customer service. They’re cutting jobs and even entire departments. They’re streamlining.

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As numerous studies have shown, the net effect of this is that, over the course of the business cycle, almost all new jobs come from small businesses.

Opportunities created by large businesses for small businesses in bad times

As large companies make cuts, astute small businesses can gain an advantage by using any or all of the following three strategies:

#1 – Turn bigg companies into your customers.
They’re reviewing their operations. If what they cut is what you do – it’s your service – market to them! They may still need that service in some capacity … take advantage of it!

#2 – Recruit their talent
A lot of the people they’re laying off are very talented. These are people that you may have never been able to get before. Recruit that talent. Provide them with a nice place to fall.

They may look for something more stable or some place where they feel more of a sense of ownership. Your business could be the answer they’re looking for!

#3 – Go after the large company’s small customers.
With the cuts they’re making, they have few resources to take care of their customers. It’s the old 80/20 rule – they’re likely to super-serve the 20% of their customers that constitute 80% of their sales. Then they may cut back on service for all the rest.

Go after these customers that are facing reduced service. They may be a small account to a large company, but they may be one of your biggest customers!

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