If you’ve ever seen The Lion King, you may remember the scene where the hornbill Zazu sings: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve been through, nobody knows my sorrow;” and I think it is fair to say that many small business owners can identify with those lines of the Louis Armstrong classic, especially in the early stages of running their business. Here are five things that small business owners understand better than anyone else.
Failure is a certainty.
Harsh? Nope, that’s just the truth. You will probably make more failures than successes, because more often than not your “brilliant” plan, no matter how well thought out, will not work out the way you expected because one simply cannot account for every unknown. The solution? To be successful you need to be flexible, open to change and willing to persevere in the face of hardship. You really can learn to treat failure and setbacks as learning curves and opportunities for improvement.
You may end up feeling like nobody else in the world understands what you are going through, mentally and financially, not even your closest friends and family. And as every business is unique, they probably don’t. The long hours, excitement, anxiety and problems you face when you run your own business may make you feel alienated when you don’t have like-minded people to interact with. Recommendation? Like PTSD sufferers have groups, Business owners have groups too. Find yourself a group of like-minded small business owners and share your experiences, ideas and “battle scars” online or in your community and banish some of that loneliness.
Every. Single. Waking. Moment. Under that façade of confidence you show the world, you may find yourself asking “what was I thinking?” that’s normal and healthy, and every small business owner feels the same way. You often only discover how hard owning your own business is until you feel overwhelmed. Channel this doubt into productive energy, keep on your toes and learn when to recognize when a situation is beyond your control.
In the beginning, many small businesses owners see their ideas and products and profit margin as the core of their company, but if you’ve been in the game for a while you start to see the value of the people supporting you and your business in a whole new light. Having the right team, clients, partners and investors and working on the bonds with your family and friends will make you stronger as a person and as a business owner. This means motivating and inspiring those around you, even when you don’t feel that great yourself.
The Weight of Responsibility.
You quickly learn that you are responsible for everything from salaries to clogged toilets, and even when you may not be physically in control of all everything that happens it still falls on your shoulders. But in the end, you wouldn’t have it any other way.