Have you ever thought about what actually drives the success of your small business? During a conversation in a recent networking event someone said that nine out of 10 small businesses fail within the first 10 years of being in business. As this article points out this figure is probably completely nonsense because so many different factors need to be considered like time frame, does fail mean out of business, and failure rates in different industries. However, there is no argument against the fact that many small businesses do fail. So what drives the success of those businesses that make it?
Most successful business owners will tell you that passion is essential to their success. If you have to show up to a job every day that you don't truly enjoy then it becomes a nuisance and you look for something else. Most people have several different jobs in their lifetime for various reasons. Maybe they feel underappreciated, undercompensated or just really don't like the work. Small business owners that are passionate about what they do are vested in their business, which motivates them to make the business work.
Your passion doesn't necessarily have to be your job, but it can be a parallel to your job. Let me explain what that means. I left Boston over 12 years ago because the city life and 9-5 job wasn't for me. I pursued my passion of skiing by moving out west and everything else kind of fell into place. While trying to figure out how to make my life out west work I also fell in love with the sport of fly fishing and the state of Montana. When I started doing small business bookkeeping one thing I noticed was the flexibility it allowed me to continue to pursue my passion of outdoor sports. I was hooked (no pun intended). I don't teach people to ski or fly fish because I don't want to turn my passions into my job. Rather, I let them coexist and complement one another.
Willingness To Adapt
Many small businesses fail because owners focus on what they offer, not what their customers will want in the future. People tend to avoid change because it causes them to think critically and work to make the proper changes. They would rather think that by doing nothing they will succeed because they are successful right now. That is a huge mistake because by not being willing to adapt to change you are putting your business at risk of failing. Successful entrepreneurs know how to pivot when they are faced with a challenge. Successful business owners are also often early adopters of new technology and are good at assessing the value of those technologies. If you want your business to succeed you should look at change as an opportunity rather than a roadblock.
Lifestyle It Provides
Many people end up starting their own business because of the flexibility and lifestyle opportunities. Answering to a boss and playing by their rules is not for everyone and causes many to break out on their own. Running a small business is not for everyone as many find out the hard way; hence the high failure rate. However, successful business owners work extra hard because of the lifestyle. When I say lifestyle I'm not talking about visions of afternoons in a hammock sipping cocktails or working in pajamas. Successful owners value the ability to live their life and make their own rules. Having the ability to attend your kids sporting events, take a day off when your kids are sick, or taking a day off for whatever is what successful business owners value. However, they work extra hard for that convenience. Don't think that a flexible lifestyle comes easy, it needs to be earned and monitored closely or you may find your business leaning towards failure.
The Fun Of It
If you want your small business to succeed then you have to be having fun with your job. Some people say that they love their job and other people really mean it. Is everyday fun for a successful small business owner? Absolutely not. Take today for example; I'm having a rough one. Today seems like it has been bad news and putting out fires all morning. However, in the big picture, grand scheme of things today is not that big of a deal. Overall I love my job and have a ton of fun handling the day to day work. Most people hear the word bookkeeping and cringe. It is something I always found interesting and was pretty good at. I love keeping business owners organized and showing them how to use their bookkeeping as a tool for their small business. We tend to act as financial consultants for our clients rather than just bookkeepers. That keeps it interesting for me. Additionally we get to work with hundreds of different small businesses rather than the same one every single day. That keeps the work fresh with new situations every day and teaches us a lot about both bookkeeping and running a successful small business.
Everyone has a different recipe for their small business and how to make it a success.
What drives the success of your small business?
Photo Credit © Dollar Photo Club / Dmitry