February is the month of love but after ‘the year that shall not be mentioned’ there is one valentine in your life that needs a little extra TLC … your business. Roses and candlelight dinners may work for your human valentine, but this one has different needs. As with any relationship, it is essential to pause, appreciate and celebrate the positives. Running a business is so hard on so many levels, it’s easy to forget why you wanted to be an entrepreneur in the first place. Take the time to remember why you love your business, so it may love you back!
Here are 5 reasons to love being a small business owner:
1. It’s yours – you built it!
No matter how small or ‘unexciting’ your business may be, if it’s paying the bills, then it’s a successful business. Even if it’s a start-up, or not yet profitable, it still has the potential to make money. What’s important is that you had the courage and grit to do what so many others simply dream about. Every day presents a new opportunity to refocus and refine what you do.
2. You make the rules
Yes, customers are demanding, but you are not answerable to any boss other than yourself. If you find a way to improve something or you wish to test a new product, you can go right ahead without trying to get ‘buy-in from management’. Similarly, your time is your own and within the bounds of serving your customers, you can choose to work when it suits you – allowing you to spend time with your family or pursue a sport or even study. This is especially so the longer you have been in business because you will likely have employees and processes in place that means you do not have to be there all day, every day.
3. You can make a difference
Small businesses can (and should) be very customer-responsive by their very nature. It is easier to know your client base and to keep the proverbial finger on the pulse. Understanding what your customers want and being creative and nimble in your response to changes in the market allows for healthier, happier relationships. There is great satisfaction to be had in knowing that you have genuinely solved a problem and given excellent service. This is amplified when it reflects in the bottom line!
In addition, local businesses are important to communities – not only as a supplier of products and services, but as potential employers, or sponsors for community initiatives. The big boys don’t provide the school soccer team kit or plant trees in the park.
4. Change is positive
One thing the pandemic has taught us is that creativity and adaptability are crucial skills for the 2020s. A small business can quickly introduce new processes and products, embrace the digital revolution with enthusiasm and even change business models. Remote and online is here to stay and small businesses are well-positioned to utilise, and profit from, technology… much of it free or relatively inexpensive.
Being small also implies that there is always room to grow. I am a partner in an online business which started in my dining room. Six years and many mistakes later, we are now looking at renting a second warehouse!
5. It’s an investment
It’s a massive investment of blood, sweat, many tears, as well as money and it’s extremely high risk. Being a small business owner is not for the faint-hearted. However, the rewards in terms of excitement, potential profits and a flexible lifestyle are what keep many of us going.
There have been times when I believed my business was a bottomless pit and in truth, for a long time it was. Yet we recently revisited our 5-year vision document from the early days in the dining room; with a sense of wonder and gratitude, we saw that we have realised that vision, albeit in 6 years.
What do you love about your small business? Tell us in the comments below.