The obstacles they faced: The ups and downs of being a small business owner
There are many reasons why people love to move to small towns, most common reasons that you would hear are, “we love how quiet it is” or “we love how personal the whole town is”. One key that makes a town so personal are the businesses, especially the small businesses.
Keeping any business afloat is hard, but imagine being a small business owned personally by only one or two people and not a huge corporation. According to SBA Office of Advocacy, “In 2010 there were 27.9 million small businesses” , so they make up a heavy portion of where most people get their income and where a lot of citizens go to get everyday necessities.
But, what a lot of people do not really think about is, what is it like to be in charge of all of that and to have that much responsibility fall onto you?
There are multiple obstacles that owners face every day, in their personal lives and in their businesses. Roger and Darlene Heflin, previous owners of the Plain City Pub. When asked what obstacles they had faced when first going into business, Darlene quickly replied that “It was no steady income and you never had any time at home” which seems to be an issue for many personal business owners.
Later, Mark Elias, the owner of First Flight Auto brought up the issue that was, “obtaining money and investors for my business is the hardest thing.” According to CNBC only 52% of people invest in businesses, and that is in the stock market, but it is even less in small businesses that are just starting.
Lastly, an obstacle mentioned often was that as an owner of a small business, they never get to spend time at home. Darlene Heflin even went as far as saying that “you’re married to your business,” and that puts stress on your relationship if your spouse also happens to be your business partner. According to allbusiness.com, “The well-known statistical divorce rate of 50 percent for married couples is staggering. Undoubtedly, entrepreneur couples are in an extremely high risk category.”
But, with every disadvantage there are also a lot of advantages. One advantage brought up by Sue Dougherty, the previous owner of Pizza Villa, said, “When you own your own business and you have a night where there is a family thing, you can shut it down.” That is a very good point when it comes to being an owner.
There are also plenty of other advantages that come from owning a business such as having access to small business loans and grants to cover the amount of money it takes to start, unlike large chain businesses.
Another advantage to being a business owner is that since owning a business you would have extra money to spend on your personal life. Darlene Heflin brought this up by saying, “We paid off our house, and we got to buy our camper which led to a lot of good times.”
When it comes to owning a business and trying to have a personal life, those two things clash.
After you are an established business, it is not as hard because you have your employees to take over for you, but when you first start out, you do not have a social life. According to localfirstbank.com’s infographics, the average small business owner works about fifty-two hours per week, and 57% of owners work only six days per week while only 20% work all seven days. Also, 86% of owners take at most a 2 week vacation once a year but while on that vacation, they spend 39% of that time doing work-related activities.
What a lot of people do think about when it comes to having your own business is all the hard work and stress it takes to be an owner, but what they don’t realize is that, owning a business gives a person a lot of self pride and self confidence. When asked about how being a business owner affected him personally, Mark Elias responded, “It gave me a huge sense of accomplishment and self-worth and confidence in myself. It is the hardest thing that I have had to do, and there has been a lot of ups and downs and just overcoming objections.”
Being able to own a business and have it last as long as Mark Elias, Sue Dougherty, Darlene and Roger Heflin’s businesses have, it is easy to say that there are plenty of ups and downs that come with it.