Owners Weigh in on the Benefits of Being a Small Business
by Margot Carmichael Lester, Staples® Contributing Writer
According to a 2014 Gallup poll of American small business owners, 84 percent would do it all over again if given the chance. And that figure hasnt changed much in 11 years, which includes the Great Recession. Maybe theres something to that be your own boss thing when owning a small business after all.
In the survey, respondents identified the most rewarding things about launching and operating their own ventures. The top three were:
Interestingly enough, 90 percent of respondents said securing their financial future was an important or very important motivator in starting their business, yet only 7 percent cited financial rewards/money as the most rewarding aspect of running it.
Lets take a closer look at the benefits of being a small business.
Julie Kearns, founder of Junket: Tossed & Found in Minneapolis, MN, likes the independence and control over the culture and community shes building at her social enterprise. I can say no to people and no to work when the fit isnt good, she explains. I also enjoy being able to seize opportunities as they present themselves. And because my business is small and the buck stops with me, I can make intuitive decisions without having to run them past committees or a boss.
Thats important as Kearns looks at growing Junket. Im building this business gradually, without taking on debt or partners, she says. I intend to foster growth at the company until I sense that our social service mission has reached peak potential but I will do so on my terms and on my timeline.
Job satisfaction is high among entrepreneurs who own their own small business. I have so many different areas to cover: sales, service, marketing, HR, IT, finance, purchasing, training, taxes and thats just a short list. Ownership allows me to stretch my skill levels beyond what I thought was even possible, says Kelly Moore, president of Moore Benefits in Irvine, CA. An additional advantage is that you are seen as somebody important to employees, vendors and customers, when Im really the same person I was when I was just an employee. There is a level of respect that I receive that I never had before.
Kristin Rae, founder of Inspire Travel Luggage in Normal, IL, found that building a business around her product proved her value. The success or failure of your business resides solely upon yourself, she says. It takes enormous conviction to keep going, even when it gets tough. You really find out who you are and what kind of person you want to be.
A key benefit to owning a small business is a flexible schedule. Sure, there are standard business hours in sectors like retail or services, but many owners tweak their hours to meet customer demand, family obligations and other factors. And, depending on your operation, you also have the ability to take time off or to work from home sometimes or all the time.
I enjoy having a flexible schedule that accommodates my family life. Ive found a great balance, Rae says. Being an owner allows her to stay at home and raise her daughter while still focusing on career goals. Im glad I chose to go my own way. Since technology has transformed the resources available for small businesses, anything is really possible.
Small business ownership isnt without its challenges, of course, but its also full of meaningful rewards.
On one hand, you don't have the security of a regular paycheck but really, in today's corporate environment, who does? says Craig Wolfe, president of CelebriDucks and Cocoa Canard in San Rafael, CA. With your own business, you create your own job security. And the best part is, youre doing what you enjoy every day, so in the good times and bad, its your baby.