We know running a small business is hard. Very hard. It’s the fact that runs our whole business mission, being one of the best companies offering technology to make normally time consuming tasks go just a little bit easier. Our app’s mission (and our life calling) is to make it easier for small businesses to succeed, and their owners to be happy.
Our hearts were filled with joy when we saw the recent findings from a Harris Poll, commissioned by Bank of The West, on American small businesses- a whopping 92% of surveyed small business owners said they have no regrets, and 88% would do it all over again if given the chance. That is just wonderful news!
The survey respondents attributed their happiness to the fact that owning an American small business really does help one achieve the American dream. 73% said owning a small business improved their financial well-being. 55% said that going into business for themselves makes work fun, “it doesn’t seem like a job” they reported.
How did they build businesses that worked, and achieve happiness? The survey, “Pay It Forward”, contains 8 key lessons we can take away from these happy, and successful small business owners.
- Maintain appropriate financial separation
Nearly 1 in 3 respondents said the most important piece of advice for new or aspiring entrepreneurs is to keep business related finances separate from personal finances. Just avoid that whole mess altogether- it isn’t worth it!
- Do more marketing than you think you should.
Equally important to these successful small business owners was the realization that marketing and promotion is worth every penny. If anything, they would have invested even more time and money in marketing, and earlier on too!
- Be Involved in Managing Cash Flow
This is a small business lesson very near and dear to our hearts. We (skew?) automation, and instead build our own Receivables Management software that puts emphasis on your involvement. Being aware of, involved in, and proactive with your accounts receivables is the ultimate secret to success. Managing your accounts receivables is the surest path to managing your cash flow, which over 22% of the surveyed small business owners listed as being one of the most important factors in their success.
- Hire The Most Qualified Person (which isn’t always family)
Many of the surveyed small business owners reported they initially hired family or friends to save money on salaries, but when they switched to hiring instead the most qualified person for the job, they saw significant improvement. 24% said this was most of the most important lessons they learned.
- Seek out Subject Matter Advice
A large portion of the small businesses owners said that they could have grown their businesses and achieved success more quickly if they had spent more time early on seeking out subject matter advice. Now they know to regularly read blogs and business papers (helpful blogs like ours! our mission is to publish advice to help small business owners get on)
- Utilize, really utilize, your CPA
49% of surveyed small business owners said that advice from their CPA helped them significantly along the way, and 72% of respondents said that the advice and partnership from their accountant was the most important of all their outside help. Never forget, there are many ways to work with your accountant beyond tax prep!
- Emphasis Great Service
More than 3/4s of these happy and successful small business owners said their “secret sauce” was simply providing the best service. Take a look at your competitors, and offer something even better. To this end, sterling customer service will take you very, very far.
- Planning. It’s worth it.
Of the 49% of small business owners who said they “jumped right in” when it came to starting their business, 79% said that doing so cause them to deal with a few hardships early on due lack of planning. This may seem like a basic lesson, but just look at how true it is- nearly 80% of the non planners experienced issues as a result.
These 8 lessons are more valuable than any pricey business class. It’s real life advice from small business owners just like you, who are living the American dream: started their own business, achieved success, and now look back on the endeavor with happiness and no regrets. What great sage advice has been shared with you over the years? Let us, and the other new small business owners know in the comments!