Small Business Saturday was designed to celebrate small businesses and their owners. So I’m doing the same at Craving Current! Owning a small business is blissful and stressful, exhilarating and frightening. For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, it’s a wonderful journey. Over the years, I’ve learned to keep an even keel and not let the highs get too high and the lows too low.
Today, I’m giving you the positives and not-so-positives of owning a small business and living the entrepreneur’s lifestyle! Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you only work for and answer to yourself. My bosses are my customers and my employees! They are the ones that really run the show.
Why do small business owners do what they do?
Relationships with customers
During the Black Friday weekend, major retailers slash prices to send discount goods flying out their doors. But small businesses often can’t keep up with these major deals and low margins, so they tend to get lost in the fray of the excitement. That’s why American Express decided to promote the small business world with Small Business Saturday, where business owners have the opportunity to grab a piece of the holiday pie the day after Black Friday.
The focus of Small Business Saturday is to allow owners to provide unique, personalized experiences with their customers. Maybe a boutique offers hot chocolate or cookies while customers are browsing. Or a local restaurant offers a kids’ bakeoff championship. These events bring people together in a deep relationship with the business and community.
Customers love the connections that they can build with their local small businesses. And small business owners thrive on this relationship with their clients. There’s nothing better for an owner than knowing you’ve had a direct impact on your local community by providing a top-notch experience, service, and product.
Relationships make businesses succeed.
There’s an opportunity for small businesses to become a big fish in a little pond. A quality local business can become a staple of the community. This allows you to build connections that lead to prospects, clients, and partners.
A lot of small business owners love knowing that they can make a difference in their community. Whether a small town or a huge city, a small business can become a cornerstone for community and culture.
Small business owners are also building their communities by providing jobs to locals. This is a great way to stimulate the economy and bring a positive employment rate to the area.
Even more, a lot of small businesses tend to hire a wider array of employees that other businesses may not take on. This includes teens, retirees, part-time workers, those with families, and those with disabilities.
Running a small business gives you the opportunity to be a great boss and provide a strong life for your employees. You’re responsible for their wages, their healthcare, and their work-life balance. You’re also responsible for their growth and learning, and you can help promote them to the next stage of their professional life.
Being a great boss is one of the most rewarding jobs out there.
You can own and run your business as you see fit. There’s no box to fit into. And if you make a box, you can break it just as easily. This channels creativity and productivity in a new way by constantly pushing the bounds to get to the next level.
Research has shown that small businesses that emphasize innovation and ingenuity are those that succeed and flourish. Fostering this kind of collaborative environment is stimulating and effective.
Small business owners like working for themselves. This independence allows for extreme levels of growth both personally and professionally. You can even decide what you wear to work every day!
Autonomy isn’t enough, though. Business owners love the feeling of independence, but they also know that they couldn’t run a business without their employees.
Most entrepreneurs start a small business because they want to give back in some way. They see a need in their community that they’re looking to fill. This gives a rewarding sense of purpose that ignites passion every day when you wake up.
It also gives you the opportunity to be a great boss and provide a strong life for your employees. You’re responsible for their wages, their healthcare, and their work-life balance.
Business owners can control the culture of their business and how that mission gives back to employees, to customers, and to the community. There is no greater feeling than seeing happy employees and happy customers walk through your doors.
The feeling that you built something from nothing - and saw success - is an unmatched experience. It’s like building a house. There’s a lot of time hard work that goes into it. But then it’s finished, and you stare in awe at the home you’ve created.
Even with the highs and lows, there’s a strong sense of accomplishment for owners who work every day to take their business to the next level. Small business owners learn to appreciate every win, no matter how “big” or “small” the success.
What do small business owners have to face?
A business owner is never “off the clock.” There is little separation between home and work, and the two have to blend and integrate seamlessly. This can create a high-stress situation for the owner and their family. Work-life balance hard to achieve.
Business owners experience serious stress. All jobs have stressors, but the responsibility of owning a business brings a deeper level of pressure. Everything from recessions, tech problems, insurance rate increases, supplier mishaps to increased competition—the list of potential problems goes on and on. Having to fire employees—whether due to performance or budgeting—is another significant stress for business owners. Even your own decisions can create problems.
At any given moment, a business owner is dealing with at least one of these stresses that put their business and livelihood at risk. Without a strong coping mechanism, some business owners can’t cut it.
Business owners will fail—many times. There are major highs and great days, but there are also serious lows and horrible days. Failure is inevitable.
But failure is essential to growth. Those with thick skin and a resilient nature can persist through the problems to develop at an even faster rate.
“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” – Woody Allen
Money can be an exciting high of owning a business, but it can also be a serious low. Your salary is often dependent upon the success of the business. You may not even take a salary sometimes in order to keep the business afloat.
There is a lot of volatility in business financials, so it’s important to learn to manage your numbers—and your emotional state. Those leaders who chase a vision, not a paycheck, tend to see the most successful businesses.
“Chase the vision, not the money. The money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
Owning a business is a thrilling ride filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. An owner experiences everything from joyous contribution to an anxious risk that doors could be closing.
But challenges and all, owning a small business connects you with a community and helps you build a rewarding life that you love.
Enjoy your Small Business Saturday!
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs