As an entrepreneur, I am often asked what it’s like to start your own company and what it takes to be a successful small business owner. While there are many different ways to respond to these questions, I always come back to a simple answer: Make sure you’re starting your business for the right reasons.
There is a general shift in our economy. Increasingly, workers are leaving their corporate jobs to join startups or create their own businesses. While running your own business is one of the most fulfilling things you may ever do, being a small business owner is fraught with enormous challenges and stress
According to recent statistics published by the Small Business Administration (SBA), half of new businesses will be forced to shut their doors within five years and two-thirds of them will close within a decade. While there are many reasons business closures happen so frequently, my gut feeling is that if you are in it for the right reasons from the beginning, you’ll have a better chance at long-term success.
Building a business is no easy task. Once you decide to start your own company, you’ll quickly realize there are many roadblocks standing between you and your goals. Don’t let them impede your progress.
Recently, I asked some Fundbox customers to share some advice they’ve learned from starting and running their own small businesses. Their words will help you get started on the right foot.
1. Ignite passion
As cliché as it may sound, when we started our company our success really depended on the people we hired. Assuming yours is not a one-person business, I believe that hiring the right people will have the most profound impact on your success. Conversely, hiring the wrong people could contribute to your failure.
Furthermore, SMB owners should inspire the people that comprise their company.
Andrew Allgaier, Founder/CEO of Cambio Agency, believes “the most valuable asset your company will ever have is its people. Business models will change. Products evolve. Help your team see your vision that started the business so they can feel like they are investors of time, not just clocking in/out to get tasks done. And let them help shape the future vision of the company – you’re not the only one with great ideas!”
2. Build valuable partnerships
Of course, small business owners are accustomed to wearing many hats. But many need to realize that partnerships with other businesses/ products will add value to their own. As Jennafer Ross, CEO of JR Global Events, INC, said:
“You cannot be everything to everyone, nor can you be great at everything.Having like-minded business partners is key. As a woman business owner, the key for our success is solid partnerships.”
We have worked hard to develop trustworthy, reliable and ethical business partners with whom we can call upon and know with 100% certainty that they have our best interest and our client’s best interest at heart. Those partners are respected, proven in business and value the relationship and business we provide. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship and one in which we take pride on fostering.”
3. Prepare for unexpected business costs
The cost of a project could be predicted as one amount, but sometimes there are unforeseen events that raise your costs. SMB owners need to have a plan in place for these incidents. The one lesson that Jason Poole, founder of Preservation & Co., learned as a small business owner, is to always multiply…
“Whatever you think it’s going to cost and how much time you think it will take to get started, just double it right away.” –Jason Poole, Founder, Preservation & Co.
4. Manage on-hand funds efficiently
Having working capital on-hand is so important to run your small business efficiently. Without it, many day-to-day operations will suffer and your business growth will be stunted. Take it from James Paul, General Manager of Line-X of Greater Orlando, for example.
“Cash is king! Account receivables don’t pay the bills and employees aren’t fond of IOU’s when it comes to payday!” -James Paul, General Manager, Line-X of Greater Orlando
Starting your own business is certainly challenging, but there’s no sense in making it any more difficult than need be. So listen to what fellow entrepreneurs have to say about running a business; they can be great sources of inspiration, helping to make your job considerably easier.
What piece of advice has helped you become a better small business owner? Share with us on Twitter @fundbox with #smallbizadvice.