Realize the primary advantages of small business ownership

By Michelle van Schouwen

Owning a small business can be the best career and life choice ever. Have you found this to be the case for yourself?

Making sure you enjoy the benefits of owning your small business should be somewhere at the top of your to-do list. Here’s a start:

Benefit 1: You don’t report to anyone. Many of us started our own companies in part because we didn’t much care for working for other people. We didn’t want bosses to run our days. So, once you become a business owner, you want to retain as much of that autonomy as possible. Be careful that the demands of your company do not become your new master. Maintain thoughtful control over your choice of customers, hours, financial obligations, and more. This way, you really feel like your own boss, as you should.

[amazon_link asins=’151463581X’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’6a6f0042-cb03-11e8-ac6f-65bb7587d0fe’]Benefit 2: You have the opportunity to make more money than you would as an employee doing similar work. To help assure that you enjoy the income you want, be sure not to undervalue your work. Pick your product or service offerings and your market segments carefully. Watch cash flow. Be careful of debt. Plan your tax strategy carefully. Save money during good times so that bad times don’t sink you. Be watchful to assure your employees “give you your money’s worth.” This way, you are likely to enjoy a good living.

Benefit 3: You can enjoy a feeling of accomplishment. Take the time to appreciate all you do. You keep the doors open, the lights on, the employees paid and – of course – your customers well served. You certainly experience the occasional glitch, and you make mistakes, but even these can contribute to your learning experience and hence also your overall sense of achievement.

[amazon_link asins=’B017QL8U3Y’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’7cc3d7d8-cb03-11e8-b863-055900cf7e2c’]Benefit 4: You can work with people you respect. The bottom line on this is that it is largely up to you. Hire good people, train them and foster their growth. Do not keep the poor performers or bad characters any longer than you must. The book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business is valuable in determining whether employees are a good fit, and what to do if not. My post Tear off the bandage and fire that problem employee will help you show the bad ones the door.

Benefit 5: You may be able to develop and provide products and services about which you are passionate, or at least proud. Sure, that’s not an automatic yes. Many fine businesses sell products that don’t truly excite their owners. But you should feel – at least – that you are providing value and benefit to your customers and stakeholders, and you should feel enthusiastic about the work you are doing. If you do not, it may be worth considering a pivot in your business.

Benefit 6: You can become a valued member of your community. Business owners often enjoy positive community visibility, invitations to work with causes and non-profits and opportunities to meet others who are active or take leadership roles, whether in your region, industry or other areas of interest.

Benefit 7: In many cases, you may be able to control your own schedule. Admittedly, many business owners work more hours than employees at companies do, but at least you have the freedom to attend a school play, work from home or make other accommodations for your own needs and preferences.

Benefit 8: You may be able to build value that later allows you to sell your small business. This requires savvy planning throughout the years that you own your company. Learn all you can about how (and whether) companies in your industries tend to sell. Even as you plan for the eventuality of a company sale, be sure to save for your own long-term needs including retirement. This way, no matter whether you sell or not, you will be okay.

These are just some of the many benefits of owning a small company, all of which require your perseverance to maintain. Because you spend much of your time managing your company, it’s well worth assuring it feels good to you, and that you are enjoying the real advantages of life as a small business owner.


Michelle van Schouwen enjoys an “Act 2” career as principal of Q5 Analytics, providing advocacy and communications for climate change mitigation and adaptation. See For the past 32 years, Michelle was president of van Schouwen Associates, LLC (vSA), a B2B marketing company. In 2017, van Schouwen Associates was acquired by Six-Point Creative Works, Inc. of Springfield, MA.



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