Small businesses currently make up 99 percent of all United States businesses, employing over 120 Million Americans. President Obama noted, "Small Businesses have always formed the backbone of the American economy. These entrepreneurial pioneers embody the spirit of possibility, the tireless work ethic and the simple hope for something better that lies at the heart of the American ideal."
The creation of new small businesses, of course, leads to more jobs for Americans and a stronger economy. According to Business Insider, 70 percent of small businesses are owned and operated by a single person and 60-80 percent of new jobs come from small businesses.
It's no wonder why folks want to start their own business. Who wouldn't want to feel like they are in control of their future, working in a job that they're passionate about, with no boss to report to? It's the American Dream at its finest!
But sadly, according to the Small Business Administration, in the first quarter of 2013, a small business went bankrupt every fifteen minutes. This of course, is absolutely devastating to the owners, their families, and all the employees who believed in the project.
So what do you need to accomplish the American Dream besides a great product and a little bit of start-up money?
"Persistence," says Zachary Lezberg, founder of The Small Business Expo. Mr. Lezberg has worked with small business owners from across the United States and has found that the skill most first time entrepreneurs lack is due diligence.
"It's critical that when you want to start a business you do thorough due diligence and research," he says. "You need to know everything about the industry you are tackling. Who are your competitors and what makes them so special? What will make your business special and different? What about your prices? How will you market? What is your budget? Etcetera."
It is important do lay all of this groundwork before you launch. You need to have a clear understanding of your business' identity, target demographic, and place in the market before you:
1) Rent a business space in a less than ideal area to connect with your audience
2) Overstaff your operation right out of the gate
3) Blow your budget on a half-baked marketing campaign
4) Overpay independent contractors who can take you to the cleaners because you don't know any better (*in my experience, these are usually SEO companies)
Think. Research. Plan. And have a back-up plan. And have a back-up plan for your back-up plan. Give your business the best chance for success from the very first day.
It's generally true that most first time business owners think starting a business is easy. As statistics show, that is far from the truth. It's a rollercoaster ride and you have to be prepared to take the good with the bad. But that aspect just makes it all the more rewarding.
Zachary's best piece of advice to new small business owners is: "Don't forget to enjoy the ride. Yes, running a business can be stressful at times, but enjoy it. If this is what you want to do with your life - don't forget to live it!"