When I first made the jump from home-based, direct-selling independent contractor to starting my own company, I was excited to be a part of the Small Business Owner “club.” I was a real entrepreneur building my own dream!
I started with $500 in my pocket and an idea.
Since I didn’t know anything, I looked for resources everywhere I could, especially free ones. I found a few helpful resources here and there, but I soon discovered that the other “small business” owners had much bigger budgets and bigger businesses than I had.
COSTS OF BEING IN BUSINESS
I slowly started my business and suddenly found it working for me and growing, but not enough to hire anyone. All the tips and resources I found required either enormous amounts of time (which I didn’t have) or hiring people or buying the tools I needed to support and grow my business (aka money, money, money!).
Everything costs money – or requires time to figure it out on your own. I learned you pay extra for everything as a business. Extra for a bank account, extra for trash pickup, extra for utilities, extra for the internet, A LOT extra for tax preparation – everywhere I turned, I was paying another fee for being a business owner.
It didn’t take long before I realized I didn’t fit into the “small business” category. By definition, a small business is one with 50 employees or less. To me, that sounded like a big business. For a very short time, I had 3 part-time employees, but for most of the time, I was the only one operating my business.
I wasn’t a small business, I was a MICRO BUSINESS.
SPECIFIC NEEDS OF A MICRO BUSINESS
Micro businesses are unique in a variety of ways. A micro business:
- Requires the full attention of the owner. The owner works the business, and if they have any employees, it is as a support.
- As owners, they are not as readily available to join networking groups or attend conferences because of the needs of their business – unless it is a service business out of their home that does not require specific hours of operation.
- Budgets are very small, making marketing and advertising extremely costly.
- Not much room for error. For bigger business, a mistake may be expensive, but they can usually absorb it and move on. In a micro business, they are sometimes one bad week in sales, one bad marketing program, or one snow storm from closing their doors. Or they find that their personal savings are regularly bailing out the business to keep the doors open.
- The owners must juggle all aspects of the business. They are the sales team, buyers, accountants, marketers, social media experts, bloggers, janitors, etc.
- If a micro business owner gets sick or has a family emergency, business is closed for awhile. As their life goes, so goes the business.
- Most micro business owners start a business to pursue a passion. The majority are untrained in the necessary aspects of finances, marketing, or understanding the legal responsibilities with being a business owner.
- Time is their biggest enemy. With having to learn the ins-and-outs of business ownership, run the business, find new clients, and everything else – time can be the largest issue for a micro-business owner.
- Sometimes they get paid. Sometimes they don’t. One of my biggest frustrations was the assumption that I must be “loaded” financially if I was a business owner. The fact is, most micro business owners are pinching pennies more than anyone else. They live at or below the poverty level. That’s because, especially when you are first starting out, a micro business is like a newborn baby – it takes everything from you and gives nothing back. The problem comes when some micro-businesses stay that way for 5, 10, 20 years or more.
- Need practical, step-by-step, easy-to-understand help. Forget all-day seminars covering philosophical topics and strategies for growing business that applies to companies much farther down the road and with bigger budgets. Micro businesses need practical help in learning how to make a website, manage time, or to identify their target customer.
A lot is different between a product-based and service-based micro business, but the needs are the same: acquiring resources and tools that don’t take up all your time or empty your bank account.
USEABLE AND PRACTICAL RESOURCES
There isn’t a perfect solution for all the needs of a micro business owner. However, in my blog, I pass on the lessons I’ve learned and the expertise I have which proved very helpful. Such as:
- How to create and use a cash flow statement, which is vital in making buying decisions, understanding the health of your business, and being able to control costs.
- Identifying your target customer – necessary to clearly understand before starting your business, or making another business decision
- Creating and updating a functional business plan.
- How to set up a blog and what to write about
- Protecting business and personal finances should something happen to you.
- Where to find free resources for just about anything.
Follow my journey as a micro-business owner, including the ups-and-downs (read my post about the day I had to close the doors on a dream), receive encouragement, support, practical tips, and hopefully a helping hand. Also, be encouraged and learn from other business owners like you as I share their stories and mine. (You can read part of my story here. Or read how Nicole with Simply Vintage Markets turned a major tragedy into a new business.)
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