Most small business owners will tell you that owning your own business is well worth the effort. However, they will also tell you that it’s no walk in the park. Many people don’t understand the work that goes into management, marketing, and making your business run smoothly. It’s not as simple as having a good business plan: there are many misconceptions about what it takes to make a business work. Here are a few common misconceptions people have about the small business world.
Misconception: You work whenever you want
Some people think that small business owners can roll out of bed whenever they want, start their workday at noon, and still have time to come home to their family for dinner. In fact, many aspiring entrepreneurs cite that a flexible schedule is what they find most enticing about starting a business. However, while they might get to choose their hours, most small business owners end up working more than other people. As the saying goes, “entrepreneurs get to choose which 20 hours a day they work”. Even if you don’t stick to the traditional 9-5 you still need to put in all the hours it takes to make your business thrive.
Misconception: You work wherever you want
There are a lot of people who dream about traveling the world while working. The reality is, business owners (even those who operate a virtual business) often find it harder to turn off their entrepreneurial brain and enter vacation mode. As employees, it is easy to walk away from your desk at the end of the day. Business owners, however, find it hard to shut off. Even if a small business owner is “hands off”, they may still feel the need to be local and accessible to put out any potential fires.
Misconception: You’re the boss, you call the shots
It’s easy to imagine that if you own a business, you hold executive power and are in charge of all decisions. While that might be true for some things, in the end you also answer to your clients. You will also most likely rely on some sort of team: between partnerships, vendors, clients, and investors, there will always be many voices offering input.
Misconception: You spend every day doing what you love
People often start businesses based on an idea they feel passionately about. But once that idea becomes reality, small business owners can find themselves completely consumed with running the day-to-day operations of their business. They often find that they have less time to appreciate what they were once so passionate about. From balancing the books to managing employees, a business owner must be willing to wear all hats.
Misconception: The greater the risk, the greater the payoff.
The myth of the entrepreneur who puts everything on the line on a whim, only to find immediate success, can be a dangerous one. Unfortunately, the reality is that many small businesses fail. In order to have a chance at success, a lot of careful and cautious planning needs to go into building a business. Risk assessment is a critical part of building a small business. Good business owners need to be smart, strategic, and savvy, as well as persistent and patient, because business ownership is all about playing the long game.
For most small business owners, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Owning your own business allows you to exercise many different skills, gives you control over your vision and design, and ultimately can be very rewarding. Just remember to be realistic about what you are getting into.