Small businesses employ half of America’s workforce, account for 64% of all new jobs, and 50% of the national GDP. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that small businesses are the lifeline of the American economy.
A small company starts out as one person’s idea. The entrepreneur identifies a gap in the market and then tailors a product or service to fill that gap. In 1869, Henry John Heinz started off by delivering horse radish, pickles and sauerkraut to local grocers in horse-drawn wagons. Simon Woodroffe started the YO! Sushi chain with a novel approach to serving Japanese food and drinks.
Small businesses are important not only for the fact that some grow into large global enterprises but also for their immediate impact on the surrounding neighborhoods and communities. Most of the workforce these companies employ comes from the surrounding areas. These small businesses often also meet the needs of people in these areas – think restaurants, hairdressers, retail outlets, and so on.
What is also clear is that the vast majority of new startups don’t see the second year of operation. Only about 28% make it to the second year. How a startup owner manages their business determines whether they wind up with the majority or minority of startup owners.
It is important for the business owner to make a list of critical areas that affect their company’s wellbeing. The smart owner knows that employees are right up there with customers and finance. It is vital for a business owner to understand their customers’ needs. They should always remember that they’re one of the many options open to the customer. The more of the customer’s needs that can be identified and fulfilled, the greater the chances that the customer will be loyal. Finance is always the number one headache for business owners. Having a steady investment stream is vital until the business reaches sustainability. There are many options available from venture and private equity funds that are looking to invest in smart ideas.
Robert Bratt has over three decades of senior-level work experience across commercial and federal legal programs. He has played many interesting roles, including that of an entrepreneur. It is possible to read more about him at Robert Bratt’s page.
Keeping a small workforce motivated and performing – while on a tight budget – is a task that all smart business owners manage well. The key is to work together like a family. Avoid hierarchies; instead, just assign roles. If there are, say, six to eight employees, then the owner should take every opportunity to get everyone together. This can be as short 20-minute meetings at the start of a day to downtime with the gang, away from the office.
If a business owner can get all of their employees to be equally passionate about the vision, they’ve suddenly grown the capabilities of their company manifold. Thanks to the vision, the employees are no longer working for the employer – they are working for their success. The really smart business owner realizes this fact early on.