You’ve heard the (depressing) figures.
- Half of all small businesses fail within the first year
- 95% fold before five years
- 30% of small businesses continually lose money
While many bloggers might have you believe this stat is Bad News Bears, we think it brings a glimmer of hope to all you big dreamers out there:
- 40% of small businesses are profitable
Why is this encouraging, you ask? Because at one point some (not all) of those businesses were seeing red. Then they turned things around. Such is the life of a small business owner. There will certainly be ups. There will undoubtedly be downs. Here’s a roundup of the fist bumps and bruises any small business owner will endure.
Finding Your Passion
It’s a tremendous feeling to finally identify what you love doing and then imagine, create and get funding for your idea and the actual bricks and mortar. The excitement and energy you have for your project bleeds over into every aspect of your life. Your friends know about your business. Random people in the grocery store know about your business. Your passion is contagious and infectious, in all the right ways.
Congratulations, you’re on your way!
Welcome to the Grind
Then comes the impossibly long hours of getting your baby off the ground. After the glorious, impassioned beginning comes the stressed-out, high anxiety, gut-wrenching start-up phase. Overseeing the entire process is exhausting no matter how much zest you have for your business. You will, more than likely, find yourself in debt and profits will be the stuff you only read about in your entrepreneurship journals. And, chances are something will not turn out the way you planned. Your storefront won’t get the traffic you expected because of an untimely construction project. Employees at your foreign manufacturer go on strike. Whatever it is, starting your own small business is risky. This is make or break time.
It’s All on You
As the president/CEO/master/sole proprietor/big guy/leading lady of your company, you are in charge of decisions. Like it or not, you must make the calls when it comes to hiring contractors, signing off on websites, configuring your supply chain, ordering parts and whatever else your business requires. No one else is going to do it for you. For the faint of heart, we’re surprised you made it this far. For the take charge Charley, bravo!
One of the biggest decisions you’re going to have to make it is when and who to hire. Even the smartest, most organized, well financed boss will need to build her team on the road to success. Hiring the right people is mission critical but it’s also immensely challenging. We have some amazing resources at your fingertips to help you as you welcome new workers into the fold:
- How To Better Optimize The Hiring Process
- Small Business Hiring Tips: Avoiding Discrimination
- Hiring? Don’t Make This $4.4 Million Mistake
- Avoid Bad Advice: Make Smarter Hiring Decisions
These archives dole out a host of best practices, but they all include one very practical and important piece of advice: You MUST vet all of your applicants with a background check. We’re not talking just a quick social media scan or a run-of-the-mill criminal records check at the local courthouse, we mean an in-depth and thorough examination of a candidate’s background. You have more assets than just your business to protect and you don’t want one bad apple poisoning your whole tree. The types of checks you want to implement are:
- Identity and Credit
- Driver’s Records
- Criminal Records
- References and Credentials
- Clinical Services (substance testing)
Because of the size of your company, the amount of time you’re spending on it, and your probably lack of an HR department, you’ll want to outsource your background checks. You will be preoccupied, leave this skill to the accredited professionals. Although it may seem like a big bite to take at the outset, screening your candidates will pay off. You will have trustworthy people performing tasks at a high level of competency who understand your company’s culture. Screening applicants is imperative to the safety of your workplace and to the amount of fun that can be had as a team!
Burnout or Bananas?
If you’re not careful, your passion flame might be extinguished sooner than you realize. Many small business owners end up devoting too much love, life and labor to their companies only to see their dream disintegrate into smoke. There is such a thing as being too invested in your business. If everything else in your life starts to suffer because of your devotion to your business, it might be time for a serious gut-check unless you’re willing to accept any results that come your way. If you can, here’s what to avoid:
- Working 7 days a week
- Ignoring your loved ones
- Giving up your hobbies
- Avoiding faith-based activities
- Staying constantly attached to your iDevices
- Leveraging your family’s assets
Even though this business is your baby, you still need to find a work/life balance like any new parent.
On the other hand, maybe you tapped into something super cool and your business is going bananas. That’s great! Enjoy the ride and remember to maintain your work/life balance, too. We’re happy you joined the 40%‘ers.