Let’s face it… the statistics are stacked against you… Right?  As alluring as it may seem to be your own boss, make your own schedule, and start a company that does things the way YOU think they should be done…the stats say that your new business has less than a 50% chance of surviving the first 5 years.  Even those companies that make it through the first 5 years rarely ever see a profit in the first couple of years.  As a business owner who just celebrated his 9th year in business, I can attest that it’s not as easy as it seemed.  I started the way many people do:

  • I had a specific skill set that I was really good at.
  • I identified a need for that skill set in the local marketplace
  • I had could be competitive with the competition in the area in both price and quality
  • I had enough revenue from another job to help me survive the start-up period

As prepared as I thought I was… as much as I thought I knew… I look back now and think… “Wow!.. I didn’t know anything!”

Starting a business for the first time can be an exciting and overwhelming experience.  No matter how prepared you think you are, you soon realize that you aren’t!   Let’s look at this example story:

Bob is a computer technician. He has been working on computers for years, and is good at fixing them…. Really good!  best of all, Bob really enjoys it!  But Bob is tired of working 9-5 bobspclogoand making the same amount of money no matter how hard he works.  So he decides to start his own business and be his own boss.  So after talking to a lawyer friend, he goes down to the county to fill out some paperwork  and “Bob’s PC Repair. LLC”  is born!  The first few days are exciting.  His tells his friends about it and several of them hire him to fix their computers. His first check comes in and he feels an enormous amount of pride and accomplishment!  Bob seems to be doing really well, but suddenly he realizes that there are lots of things he struggles at.  Marketing, bookkeeping, taxes, and writing proposals begin to become overwhelming tasks.  Bob starts to get behind on billing, finds himself too busy to answer the phone and rarely gets home from work in time to put his kids to bed.  When he finally decides to hire an office assistant, he realizes that interviewing, hiring and managing an employee is yet another thing he isn’t good at.  Due to poor marketing and poor decision-making, business starts to slow down and he begins to hate his job.  What he wouldn’t give for that 9-5 job and a steady paycheck.

This sad story is far too common in small business.  The biggest mistake Bob made was not planning ahead and hiring people that are professionals in these areas.  Doing things yourself is usually cheaper, but rarely more efficient in the long run.  My biggest recommendation for new start-ups is to do your research and invest wisely!  Thanks to recent advancements in technology, there are several affordable solutions to small business owners that were not available just a few years ago.  In my next post, I will share several of these resources and tips to make your life easier and less stressful.  For a personal review of your marketing plan and recommendations on how we may be able to help you get your business off the ground, call us at 804-778-7604.

Jim Thomas
President, Emerge