7 Benefits of Owning a Small Business
Start your own small business and enjoy life more with ideas from two experts in the field.
According to iconic folksinger Bob Dylan, "We've all gotta serve somebody", but that may not necessarily pertain to small business owners. Even in a less-than-robust economy, owning your own service business, such as a kennel, pet sitting service or housecleaning company, can give you the opportunity to call the shots in your own life, while you bring home as much bacon as you're willing to work for. It may not be easy being the boss, but it can certainly be rewarding.
Karen Hammons, author of "Bringing Success Home" and CEO of the Home Business Success Coach, and Nancy D. Butler, author of "Above All Else, Success in Life and Business" weigh in with their take on the benefits of small business ownership.
You're in Charge
According to the 2012 Citibank Small Business Survey, being your own boss is the number one benefit of running a small business. This type of control over your own destiny can be very rewarding, but also challenging. "No one is looking over your shoulder when you own your own business, which is very liberating, but that also means no one is there telling you what to do," says Hammons. "The decisions are yours to make and therefore, capitalizing upon your strengths and compensating for your limitations by hiring the appropriate people, will be key to your success," she says.
You Can Follow Your Passion
When starting a service business, it makes sense to have a triple-pronged approach, says Hammons. "Look at your passions, experience and skills," she suggests. "Your passion is what drives and motivates you and, if you choose the right business, you'll want to grow it because you love it and feel fulfilled. It may sound like a cliché, but if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."
You Can Enjoy Flexible Hours
"When you work for someone else, you are typically locked into a nine to five day," says Butler. "That's so not true in your own business, where you get to control how much time you put in."
That doesn't necessarily mean you can schedule your days around unending beach excursions or your daily yoga class, however. "Good business leaders often come in early and stay late, knowing they will benefit from it in the long run," says Hammons.
Butler agrees, saying, "You can, however, build your business around your lifestyle needs, a huge plus for people who are raising families as well as starting a new business."
You'll Be Satisfied and Proud
Building a small business gives you the opportunity to help others realize their dreams, as well as supporting your own. Particularly in the service industry, you have the opportunity to support individuals who can greatly benefit from the types of services you provide. You also have the opportunity to imbue your own value system into the business and to make sure a high standard of integrity and strong level of accountability are maintained, which also can add to your pride in a job well done.
"A business is like a baby," Hammons adds. "It deserves all the attention and resources you can give it and when it reaches its potential, it will give you a tremendous return of pride."
You Can Choose the Right People for the Job
Nothing is more draining than going to a job you dread because you don't get along with your co-workers. When you are in charge of the business, however, you are also in charge of the hiring and can eliminate that problem. "Hire individuals because of the people they are and the abilities they have within them," suggest Butler. "It's easier to start from scratch with someone who possesses drive, ethics, abilities and personality. Look for people whose personalities will mesh with your own, while simultaneously recognizing your authority.
You Can Drive the Vision
A great advantage of owning and running a small service business is the ability to make decisions on your own quickly, without having to go through an unending middle-management chain and multiple, contradictory opinions. You change course quickly as needed, and circumvent the red tape culture of many large corporations.
You're Living the American Dream
63 percent of those polled for the Citibank Small Business Survey listed "living your dream" as a plus to small business ownership. "I think owning your own business is everyone's dream, in the way that home ownership used to personify the American Dream," says Hammons. So choose a business that interests you and is important to both you and the community.
It's not enough to simply have a dream, however. A business plan and solid understanding of what types of businesses are needed and what types aren't in your local area, can make or break your success. As a small business owner, what you put in will almost always yield what you get out -- a solid plus not only for you and those who benefit from your hard work, but also for your family as well.
Corey Whelan is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn, New York.