Small businesses get a bad rap. Although the rhetoric about the importance of supporting independent businesses is slowly shifting for the better, there still seems to be the false idea floating around that independent businesses are just smaller, less important versions of corporate businesses, and that entrepreneurs are just college dropouts who want to make it big without the proper skills. As any small business owner will tell you, this could not be farther from the truth. Independent businesses are actually the economy’s way of allowing people to share their gifts with the world. They are vital to us and the way we function overall. There is no telling where these harmful myths may have come from but there are plenty more where they came from, some of which are meant to deter prospective small business owners from pursuing their dream. So, let’s bust some myths to give you the clarity you need.
Myth #1: An independent business is just a less successful version of a corporate business.
Just like most things in life, smaller does not equal less successful in the business realm. Oftentimes small businesses operate on a more personal and individualized level, and because of this, small businesses measure their success on a more individual level than large corporate businesses. Instead of thinking of a small business as a less successful version of a corporate business, think of them as two different mediums of defining success – one that measures success in the personal and one that measures it on the macro level.
Myth #2: Running an independent business takes less work than a corporate business.
Not only is this not true, it can sometimes be the exact opposite. Corporate offices don’t typically have to worry about the task of getting off the ground. Many times a CEO takes over a business that has had generations of success behind it. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have other, equally taxing things to worry about, but it does mean that the hardest part is usually over before they get started. As a small business owner, you are constantly swimming upstream, working against the tide of the ever changing market. This is no small task, and definitely one that should never be overlooked.
Myth #3: You have to do everything.
While the task of running a small business is pretty daunting, the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, it’s generally expected of you to have a support network of some kind before you receive the proper funding to get started. Get a group of people you trust together and delegate the workload out to them. This is one of the few similarities between an independent business and a corporate business – the fact that no one can go it alone.
Myth #4: The sales number is the most important number.
While it’s hard to think past the sales number as a small business owner, it is imperative that this not be the only thing you put your money on (pun intended). When your intention is to grow your business from the ground up, your growth may not be accurately reflected in the gross sales number alone. Statistics like foot or website traffic, ratio of traffic to purchases, and profit margins are incredibly important numbers and often a better way to measure your success while you are still in the growing process.
Myth #5: It’s all just a side hustle.
Now, this one is a little different because it can be a myth but it can also be the truth. What makes this a myth worthy of mentioning is the fact that a small business is not just one thing. Some small businesses are used as side jobs to help boost individuals’ income. But sometimes it is much bigger than that. Sometimes, people put their entire souls into their small business. Both of these are possible and both of these are 100% valid.
The perfect idea of a small business is hard to pin down. They come in so many shapes and models that it is impossible to paint the most accurate image of what an entrepreneur or small business owner should look like. But, regardless, there are always myths to be busted. No entrepreneur or business owner should have to live under the shadow of harmful or misrepresentative myths. Let your perception of running a small business be built upon your experiences and your experiences alone.