When I first made the jump from a 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 finally felt like a real entrepreneur building my own dream!
I started with only $500 in my pocket and an idea. I was determined to not take out a loan so I had to build my business on a VERY small budget.
Since I didn’t know anything, I was on the hunt for resources everywhere, especially free ones. I found a few helpful sites or articles here and there, but I soon discovered that other “small business” owners had much bigger budgets and bigger businesses than I had.
COSTS OF BEING IN BUSINESS
As I slowly started my business and started to see growth, I needed help but still did not have the budget 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.
It didn’t take long before I realized I didn’t fit into the typical “small business” category. By definition, a small business is a company with up to 500 employees! Compared to my little operation, that sounded like BIG business. At one point I had 3 part-time employees, but for most of the time, I was the only one operating my boutique. (And now I’m a solopreneur with a service-based business.)
I wasn’t a small business, I was a MICRO business.
SPECIFIC NEEDS OF A MICROBUSINESS
Microbusinesses are unique in a variety of ways. A microbusiness:
- Requires the full attention of the owner. The owner works the business, and if they have any employees, it is a small support.
- Owners are not as readily available to join networking groups or attend conferences because of the needs of their business.
- 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.
- Owners juggle all aspects of the business. They are the sales team, buyers, accountants, marketers, social media experts, bloggers, janitors, etc.
- As their life goes, so goes the business. If a micro business owner gets sick or has a family emergency, business is closed.
- 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 of 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.
- 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.
No matter if you have a product-based or a service-based micro business, the needs are the same: acquiring resources and tools that don’t take up all your time or empty your bank account.
My goal is to share the resources and tips I found helpful as a microbusiness owner and build community support for those who are self-employed or have a small or micro business. (Follow my Facebook page here or signup for my weekly email, MICROBUSINESS TIPS AND NEWS.)
Here’s to your success!