We live in the age of entrepreneurship. Everywhere you turn, people are starting their small businesses or at least talking about their plans to do so. The latest available statistics showed that more than half a million small businesses are started in the U.S. alone, in a month. A month!
Extrapolate that number to the entire world and you suddenly start seeing this planet of small businesses popping up at unprecedented speeds, every single one of them striving for greatness. If not greatness, then at least some success.
There is, however, another side to this coin of SMB optimism. For example, those same aforementioned statistics also showed that an even greater number of SMBs close their doors every month. In reality, opening and running an SMB is riddled with problems and challenges.
These are the SMB realities that people often overlook and they are our subject of the day.
1. A Good Idea Is Not Enough
One of the most commonly believed myths about entrepreneurship and making it in the world of small business is that a great idea is all you need. This is a belief that too many people hold and it is easy to see why this is the case. It makes anyone believe they can make it.
I have great ideas all the time. One of them is bound to be really great and then I’ll make it.
The harsh small business reality is that it takes much more than a good idea to make it. A good idea will make it more likely to succeed, but without a great plan and a precise realization, an idea will remain only an idea, however great it is.
On top of all that, sometimes an idea may seem much better than it really is in the real world.
2. The Game Is Stacked Against You
Do not get us wrong, this is not a call for paranoia or conspiracy theories. This is the reality. It does not matter what kind of a small business you are starting, there are already people occupying this niche. They have carved out an existence for themselves. They are more than a few steps ahead of you. And they do not like you. Whether you like it or not, capitalism pits businesses against each other.
Things get even worse if your small business starts growing and endangering somewhat bigger players. They have been around for even more and they have probably become part of the mechanisms that are intended to keep them and their partners ahead.
While this is a cold and sometimes really depressing reality of the business world, it also makes your victories more meaningful. It also makes you sharper and stronger. This is how progress happens.
3. The Paperwork Is Ridiculous
In order for an organized society to work, there has to be paper. We have to have bureaucrats and laws and regulations. There may come a day when the human race becomes so evolved it does not need all of these, but at this present time, they are all a necessary annoyance.
One thing that many future SMB owners are not aware of, though, is exactly how much paperwork running a business is. From the more common stuff like tax returns to the more esoteric stuff like the different types of surety bonds; from medical insurance to vehicle insurance; from city laws to county laws to state laws to the federal law. Even if you hire the best accountant and the best lawyer in the world, the paperwork still feels overwhelming at times.
Better get used to it.
4. Things Go Wrong (often)
No one expects to go into business without hitting a few bumps in the road, or at least no one with a smidge of common sense. That being said, for many new SMB owners, the amount of stuff that goes wrong often turns out to be more than they expected. And this is putting things mildly.
Every single step in your SMB life can go wrong. You can be the one making the mistake or it may be one of the innumerable people you deal with as an SMB owner. Do not get fooled – people will make horrible mistakes. Sometimes because that’s just the way things go, but often because they do not care as much as you do.
This is perhaps the thing that taxes SMB owners the most – the fact that people just do not care as much as they do. This often infuriates SMB owners and makes them almost regret their decision.
5. Tiredness Is Constant
Once you start a small business, you get tired. And you never stop being tired.
All of these sound scary, we are aware of that. However, accepting all of these as parts of the SMB reality will make you stronger and increase the chances of your new business becoming one of the big players.