Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

So You Want to Be a Small Business Owner ... Are You Sure?

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

So You Want to Be a Small Business Owner ... Are You Sure?

Article excerpt

Have you ever questioned a decision of your supervisor and muttered at the water fountain, "I know I could run this place better than he (or she) can"? Or have you kicked your desk in frustration when the company president wouldn't approve the price it would take to close a big sale? Have you ever driven by a golf course in the middle of a workday and said to yourself, "If I owned the company, I'd be doing business on the golf course, too!"?

I suspect almost everyone in business has at least thought about starting their own company at one time or another. No doubt, the long-term benefits of being your own boss can be pretty inviting. But the difference between those who actually start and grow their own successful business and those who simply dream of owning their own business is sometimes worlds apart.

Being a small business owner my entire adult career and having consulted with hundreds of small business owners at the Terry Neese Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, I have had the benefit of observing both successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs. The first and perhaps the most important characteristic of successful small business owners is that they have the courage to take the plunge. Whether a person's business succeeds or fails will never diminish the fact that he or she has the confidence in themselves to take the chance. Entrepreneurs are a different breed!

You can't work for someone else all your life and ever expect to understand the mindset of those who are willing to cut up their security blanket and lay it on the line.

A few additional characteristics that successful small business owners tend to possess are:

* Desire -- You have to really want to own your own business to be successful. Many businesses have died on the vine because, when it came time to working all those extra hours or borrowing that much needed working capital, the owner really didn't have that burning desire to keep going.

* Initiative -- Nothing happens in a small business unless the owner makes it happen. Entrepreneurs are famous for using the popular slogan "Just do it!"

* High energy -- Playing a round of golf is probably just one of the many activities a successful small business owner might do in any given day. It's the hour after hour of work before and after the game that separates the successful ones from the unsuccessful ones. If you're thinking of starting your own business to spend more time with your family, I'd reconsider. Most small business owners are the first ones in and the last ones to leave each and every day including nights, weekends and holidays.

* Multi-tasked -- At least in the beginning, few small businesses can afford a lot of clerical or support staff. If you've only worked for large corporations where you've had personal assistants, secretaries, in-house accountants, etc. …

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