Every small business owner has pleasant times, but also turbulent times that cause fear. When you are running a small business there is so much going on that it is hard not to get caught up in the little details. However, it is important to reflect, look at the big picture, and focus on what is actually important in your business. As a small business owner here are three things I fear and three things that give me great pleasure while running a business.
Replaced by technology
Every time I go through the self-checkout in the grocery store I think about our business and my job. Can the accountant fully be replaced by a machine? However, there is a lesson in the grocery store self-checkout because there is still someone there to advise and help when issues come up. They are also supervising the entire system. Still, there is no arguing that several jobs have been eliminated by technology.
To ensure that your job is not replaced by technology it is important that you keep up with technology. As technology puts pressure on eliminating your job you must pivot in business to figure out how to move forward. Take bookkeeping for instance; software is automating much of our job. However, this automation allows us to move into more of an advisory role with our clients and teach them how to use their bookkeeping information to grow their business.
Cash flow is probably on the list of concerns for just about every small business owner. Many small businesses are started with owner capital or through bootstrapping. When you don't have a big bank roll or investors to fall back on cash is typically pretty tight.
Having a good handle on cash flow is extremely important. I have come up with a system that works for me that gives me complete control over cash flow and you will need a similar system. I always enter all banking transactions into my QuickBooks file before they post to my bank. Then I reconcile the bank account on a daily basis to the ending daily balance. This not only tells me exactly where my bank balance currently is, but also where it is going.
I'm a paranoid freak about big life changing events and therefore insure my business and myself personally to protect against those issues. There are only so many things that you can insure yourself against but you should protect the big items. Make sure your business is set up properly so that if you do get sued they can't go after your personal life.
I always tell business owners that the three biggest advisers in their business will be their accountant, lawyer, and insurance agent. Those three people are crucial to the success of your business.
There is a certain amount of pride that you have as a business owner. For me it's not the money, the car I drive or the house that I live in that gives me pride. I'm proud of the fact that something I started on my own in a basement in Alta, UT is actually providing a living for other people and their families. To me that is the biggest accomplishment of all.
Variation in job
One thing I love about being a small business owner is the variation in your job. The cool thing is you kind of get to pick what you work on. I say kind of because sometimes you are forced to put everything on hold and focus on an emergency that came up.
However, for the most part running your own show is both fun and exciting. One day you are working on marketing, the next training an employee, and then you may find yourself deep in thought over big picture tasks like your growth strategy or an exit plan. One reason I definitely love working in a small business is because every day is different and exciting. Not every day is good, but they are always exciting and that leads to a fulfilling career.
Nobody ever said starting and running your own business was easy. The challenges that you face when running your own business are constant. Common challenges include: scaling up, downsizing, training, hiring, firing, exiting etc. The challenges never stop. In college you get a good understanding of business and what challenges you might face. However, taking these challenges head on, with no warning can be very difficult.
Some days are so challenging and tough mentally that you just want to give up. You go home thinking "Why do I even do this anymore? Is it worth it?" One of the biggest challenges you will face as a small business owner is having the adversity to keep going and never give up.
What gives you joy in running your business and what instills fear?