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 hasn’t changed much in 11 years, which includes the Great Recession. Maybe there’s 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:

  1. Independence: Being my own boss or the decisionmaker (42 percent)
  2. Pride: Job satisfaction, sense of accomplishment (17 percent)
  3. Flexibility: Working my own schedule, having more family time (12 percent)

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.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of being a small business.

Independence

Julie Kearns, founder of Junket: Tossed & Found in Minneapolis, MN, likes the independence and control over the culture and community she’s building at her social enterprise. “I can say ‘no’ to people and ‘no’ to work when the fit isn’t 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.”

That’s important as Kearns looks at growing Junket. “I’m 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.”

Pride

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 that’s 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 I’m 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.”

Flexibility

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. I’ve 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. “I’m glad I chose to go my own way. Since technology has transformed the resources available for small businesses, anything is really possible.”

Meaningful Rewards

Small business ownership isn’t without its challenges, of course, but it’s 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, you’re doing what you enjoy every day, so in the good times and bad, it’s your baby.”

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