Today’s small business seems to break the norm and tradition that businesses once had. It’s not at all a bad thing, just an observation. Most business people would live near a city, dress up nice and commute to work each day. Things are changing; today’s small business is breaking and redefining normal.
Could you make a case that the 9 am – 5 pm workday is no more? People work all sorts of crazy hours and it may not be a good thing. I started my own business because I had no interest in working 9-5. I like to ski and fish and there is some good skiing and fishing that happens between the hours of 9-5. The downside is that most small business owners work way more than 9-5. Early mornings, nights, weekends whatever it takes. The internet and advances in mobile communications has changed a lot about the “normal” work day. Customers’ expectations are changing as well; most people expect service when they want it, not during normal business hours. Those that have recognized this change have adapted and are reaping the benefits.
Marketing has changed a ton in the last decade, never mind the last 20+ years. Marketing and sales in the past had a reputation of sleazy tricks to get you to buy from them. Sales and marketing has shifted with the internet and inbound marketing. Rather than pushing on your customer what you do, you need to be pushing how you can help your customers. The yellow pages, cold calling and other outbound sales tactics are becoming less common and less liked by businesses in general. More and more businesses are flocking to content and inbound marketing. Marketing and sales will always be changing so it is important to keep up with what is working.
In general I think that people are commuting less. Many have given up commuting all together and work at home in a virtual environment. Even those that are required to commute to an office find themselves telecommuting. Kids are sick? No need to take a day off just work from home. Once again the internet has changed the normal ways that businesses work and there are pros and cons.
Years ago if you told me you were a business owner I would immediately expect you to wear a suit and tie. Today I expect a small business owner to show up in a sport coat with jeans. Whether it is a new hip trend or people just want to be comfortable, business attire has changed for many small businesses. Too be honest I really don’t care how people look I want to know how they think and act. I was flattered when my Goldman Sachs business advisor introduced me for my final growth plan presentation. He said, “When I met Matt I wasn’t sure if I was getting a ski bum or a business owner. I realized that he is the image of the new entrepreneur.”
Importance Of Family Time
I think most small business employees are protective of their personal and family time. I’m not sure this has changed at all from years ago, as I think most people have always valued their family time. However, I do think it is more common and acceptable to take time off in order to attend a family event. Whether it is a kid’s soccer game, a family emergency or a sick child. More and more people can leave work to attend to their personal needs. I again believe this is due to the advances in technology allowing people to work wherever and whenever they need to. Most small business owners are tolerant of an employee taking lax personal time because they know they will make it up. Additionally the employee is happy and therefore productive and committed to the job that allows them the flexibility.
As Dylan said, “the times they are a changing.” Things will always be changing in the world of small business.
What changes have you noticed in the small business environment? Is it good or bad change?
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