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On Being A Business Owner: Facts Vs Fiction

139

Why do you want to own a business? There are various reasons why you may want to start and run your own business.

You want to be your own boss rather than be an employee. You are tired of people telling you what to do. You want to have choices. You want to be the one to decide what to do.

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You have a dream and want to put energy into building it. You want to move from helping to build other peoples’ pet projects to fleshing and shaping out your own dream. You want to build something to call your own.

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You are close to retiring, or already retired, and want to own a business which will give you a more flexible lifestyle that lets you keep busy while doing something satisfying.

You have an idea that might change the world, or a piece of it, for the better. You think you, too, can make a worthwhile effort and be an agent of change. You want to give it a shot.

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You want to make more money, quickly, and much more than you can make as an employee.

It is clear from the foregoing that there are various reasons why people veer into the path of business ownership.

From the lure of striking out on your own, through the desire to build your own business instead of someone else’s, to the chance to change the world, launching a business remains an attraction. The benefits of owning your business clearly outweigh those of being an employee. As an employee, you are not likely to have a direct share in the profits of the business, and businesses generally have more opportunities to make money than individuals do.

What is not so clear, however, is that while owning and running a small business is worth the strive, its realities  often shroud the startling illusions, and what you hope for as a business owner might not be what you get.

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It should humble you to remember that what you do as a business or business owner, whatever it is, is not special. Despite the search for the unique selling point of your product or service, in spite of the buzz about riches being in niches, millions of other people do what you do. The magic is not what you do. The real difference comes from what you do, why you do it, for whom you do it, and how you do it. That’s the winning combination.

Remember, too, the illusion of the business owner as super hero. You are talented and motivated. The business runs on your tracks. But you can’t do everything. There is so little you can do by yourself. You will break when you try to do everything. Find people who can commit to building your dream and vision; people who are great at, and love doing, the things you cannot or do not want to do. You need them to help you lighten the load and run a lean operation.

Remember one of the reasons for starting your business is to be your own boss?  You no longer have an employer telling you what to do, right? Wrong. Your employer just changed clothes! Your customers. Your suppliers. Your employees. Your community. Your industry colleagues. Your bankers. Your government. You have to listen to all of them. You left one master, and acquired many more.

Did you say you want more flexible work hours as a business owner and wish to work less than you used to when you were an employee? Wrong! You just traded your 9.00 am to 5.00 pm stint for a 24/7 position. You now sleep and wake up with your business. You are no longer in a position to be a clock watcher, waiting for closing time, and month end. Your work is not only to lead and inspire your team, but to also make payroll at month end, failing which you may find yourself hemming and hawing on payday.

Did I hear you talk of making a lot of money as a business owner? First, you will be disappointed if your primary reason for going into business is to make money. You must enjoy the business, otherwise you would make money and still not be happy with your life and the work you do.

True. Owning your business offers you the opportunity to get rich. If you work hard and fortune favours you, you will certainly make more money as a business owner than as an employee.  Yes, you may not make a ton of money, but you would make much more than a living wage. And, if you love what you are doing, and your work is adding value to mankind, you have been richly rewarded.

As to making money, quickly, perish the thought. The chance for overnight business success is below zero. If you hear something different, it’s a damn lie. Business success comes from enterprise, humility, failure, perseverance and opportunity. None of these delivers overnight.

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