Forbes added 290 billionaires to their list this year. There are 1,826 billionaires in the world total. The exciting news for all the entrepreneurs out there is that a number of the newcomers to this exclusive club started out with something small and created massive growth from that.
Some started with just an app or an idea – like Travis Kalanick of Uber or Brian Chesky of Airbnb – while others sold products that have been around forever and turned them into a nationally respected brand – Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., for instance, who began with just a small store.
Kim Beom-su grew up in a one-room apartment with eight family members. His mobile messaging app KakaoTalk is valued at $9.5 billion and his net worth is $2.9 billion.
They’re great stories that could serve as inspiration for entrepreneurs trying to make it big with their businesses, or their ideas.
However, for every startup valued in the billions, there are hundreds of small businesses out there that are filling a need in a community, helping to support a family or creating jobs.
All of these things are important to the economy and to society.
That’s why it’s important to remember that not every small business needs to turn into the next hot IPO or venture capital darling. In fact, that may very well not even be the goal of many entrepreneurs.
There are many reasons why people start businesses, and while, yes, of course, you want to make money, you don’t have to become the next Uber or Twitter or Etsy to find success.
- Creating a better lifestyle for yourself. Money can only buy happiness up to a point. If you have no time to spend it and enjoy yourself, is it worth it? Many entrepreneurs get into business for themselves so they can gain more control over how they lead their lives – they take vacations when they want, spend time with their families when it’s convenient, and work on a schedule that works for them.
- Filling a gap on Main Street. Opening a coffee shop in your neighborhood may not have you ringing the bell on the NASDAQ any time soon, but it might make a lot of people in your community happy. If your “circle of competence” is where you live, that’s often a great entry point for an entrepreneur. Find a niche in the local market and fill it. And, of course, don’t forget that mega-brands like Whole Foods, Wal-Mart and Ben & Jerry’s started as small shops.
- Doing things the right way. Often the desire to create a company comes not from a desire for money, status or even control, but the simple motivation of knowing you can do something better than it’s currently being done. Great companies often get to be that way not because they’re the most original, or because they offer something no one else does, but because they’re just better at making computers or clothes or a particular kind of food.
The media is always going to put their focus on the biggest, most sensational stories in the business world. And becoming a millionaire or a billionaire is a fine goal, but it’s far from the only one.
About the Author: Andy Roe is the General Manager of SurePayroll, Inc., a Paychex Company. SurePayroll is the trusted provider of easy online payroll services to small businesses nationwide. SurePayroll compiles data from small businesses nationwide through its Small Business Scorecard optimism survey, and exclusively reflects the trends affecting the nation’s “micro businesses” — those with 1-10 employees. You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndrewSRoe.