Small Business Advice: Pros and Cons of Starting a Business
Starting a business
Starting a business can be a wonderful adventure -- but it isn't for everyone. It's important to consider the pros and cons and make an informed decision.
Becoming an entrepreneur or small business owner isn't a job. It's a round-the-clock lifetime commitment, a roller coaster of ups and down, victories and failures. There are excellent reasons to dedicate your hard work, flexibility, and constant effort to the success of your own business. There are also excellent reasons not to, and your individual business successes and failures are determined by the degree to which you want to allow the pros and cons to affect you, your financial health, and your family.
Let's go through some of the factors associated with starting your own business. Only by weighing these pros and cons against your personal goals and priorities can you make the best decision for your unique situation in your professional and family life.
Starting a Business: Pros
Entrepreneurs are in control of their own destiny -- and for many individuals, that's the whole point of being alive. Here are just a few of the pros that go along with the personal fulfillment and self-actualization of starting a business.
You're the boss.
There are decisions to be made, and instead of having to make presentations and convince your superiors, as a business owner, you get to make those decisions yourself. And as a small business, yours can maneuver itself quickly and reposition itself ahead of the trends- something its larger, more lumbering competitors might not see the value in or be able to do as quickly.
No one can fire you.
While nothing is certain in business (or in the future of yours), at least you don't have to worry about a management decision to terminate your employment. And as a bonus, since your hard work essentially writes your paychecks, as the boss you've got an extra motivation to succeed that most employees only dream of.
You're in control of your team.
Forget being stuck with an officemate who can't stay off the phone with his girlfriend, or the politics involved in trying to sidestep office gossip. If you find that a member on your team isn't performing satisfactorily or is a detriment to the cohesiveness of your team, your days of having to turn the other way and focus on doing a great job that isn't being recognized are over. As the boss, you have the authority to build a team consisting only of individuals who are dedicated, willing to work together, and ready to put the success of the business before their own personal issues or poor work ethic when they're at work.
An extra bonus of being able to hire the best employees for the job is that as a small business owner, you have an opportunity to hire from a variety of sources your competitor may be overlooking: college students, recent graduates with little work experience, or US veterans. Help yourself while helping your country!
Starting a Business: Cons
Of course, starting a business is a huge commitment- entrepreneurs commit their time, their resources, and their finances to the success of the business, and even that doesn't guarantee success. Below are the cons of starting a business- which, as with much in life, turn out to be inverses of the pros themselves.
You're the boss.
Whether it's disgruntled customers, unpaid utility bills, or IRS letters, you're the guy at the top of the ladder (or, in many cases, you're the entire ladder). There's no one to take over a difficult situation for you- you're the one who is going to have to deal with that screaming red-faced customer, and there's just no way around it.
Everyone can fire you.
While you don't have superiors within your organization in whose hands you've placed your employment, in a manner of speaking, your entire target market makes up what is, essentially, your boss. If you can't either position yourself in a location where they will notice you or give them what they need, they will fire you.
You have to control your team.
Small business owners sometimes find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to say no to a request for employment from an unqualified relative or having to fire a friend who just can't seem to stay on task- something new bosses can find especially difficult. It is your somber responsibility to either make the decisions that will strengthen your business and its productivity, even at the expense of bruised relationships, or watch your business fail.