The Unspoken Truths about Running a Small Business
Starting and running a small business is thought of as a portion of the American dream. During the planning stage, people often dream about making better money, designing their own schedule, and spending more time with their family and friends. Really, what’s not to like? Those are the things that a lot of small business articles talk about. It makes business ownership seem like a dream come true. However, there are some unspoken truths about running a small business. These unspoken truths aren’t meant to discourage anyone from starting a business. Rather, they are meant to help you plan for the realities of small business ownership.
Small Business Ownership Is Time Intensive
When you first start a business, and for a few years after, your entire world revolves around your business. It takes several years and a lot of growth before you’re able to trust parts of your business to someone else so that you can spend more time with your family or friends. With small business ownership, time really is money. If you’re not working with clients, you are not making any money. Business is about turning a profit. Your business needs a profit to survive and you need a paycheck.
There are some things that you can do in order to try and invoke a work / life balance from the start of your business. First, spend a lot of time thinking about the work hours for your business. Even if you are most productive in the middle of the night, that won’t necessarily be beneficial for your clients. If your clients keep regular hours during the day, you’re going to need to make sure that you are available to them during those hours. If clients and potential clients cannot get into contact with you when they need you, they will take their business somewhere else. Once you’ve set a schedule, stick to it as best you can. If you’re a parent, you may find that you quickly become accustomed to working while you’re at sports practice for your child.
Second, you may be able to involve your children in your work. Older children may be able to help you with typing, filing, and even coming up with creative marketing ideas. This helps your children understand the process of running a business as well as helps them to develop a good work ethic. It also allows you to spend some time with your children. It is important, however, that you remember that your children are your children. Your relationship with them and spending time with them should not be relegated to only running your business.
Most Businesses Aren’t Instantly Profitable
Very few businesses turn an instant profit. First, it’s important for you to understand what profit is in business. Your profit is the money your business has after its fulfilled its financial obligations. If your business makes $1,500 in its first month and it has $2,000 in liabilities, it is not profitable.
It could be that your business doesn’t turn a profit for the first few years. This is important to understand for both tax purposes and for personal reasons. Talk with a CPA about whether or not your taxes (or your business taxes) will be affected if there is no profit. Depending on how your business is structured and how long it’s been unprofitable, the IRS may decide that you don’t have a business – you have an expensive hobby.
From the personal perspective, how will you survive if your business isn’t profitable? Will you need to get a job outside of your business in order to pay your bills and support the start of your business? If so, that’s another way that a small business take up more of your time than you originally anticipated.
Running a Business Takes a Lot of Work
You may not have the capital to immediately hire people that can help you run the business. You may do your own accounts receivable management, customer service, sales, and marketing. Those are all things that are done in addition to serving your clients. It takes more work than what most people realize. That is one of the reasons why new businesses fail – the business owner simply wasn’t aware of the work that would need to happen in order to keep the business up and running.
If you need help running your small business, contact Clients ARM. With a wide array of services, Clients ARM is often 40% cheaper than hiring a traditional employee. We work from a remote U.S. based location and use our 30 years of expertise to help small businesses grow. To learn how Clients ARM can help your business, schedule your free consultation.