Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. In fact, its one of the most difficult things you can ever do. The effort, financing and sheer bravado required to start a business is overwhelming, especially if you were to put a pen to paper and write all the steps down in advance.
According to the SBA [US Small Business Administration] a government agency and the Census Bureau – our economic world revolves around small business. Here are some of the most recent statistics available about small business start-up that will have you scratching your head either in awe or fear.
1) Out of 28 million small businesses in the US, over 22 million are self-employed.
2) More than half of our working population does so in a small business
3) Around 543,000 new businesses start each MONTH while more close in that same time frame.
4) 52% of small businesses are home-based.
5) Approximately 75% of all US businesses are non-employer and paying federal income taxes.
6) Of all those non-employer small businesses, over 19 million are sole proprietorships.
7) 80% of these non-employer businesses generate less than $50,000 in revenue per year.
So why do countless people start a business every year? I asked my friend Christine Clifton of Client Centric Growth, a serial entrepreneur (which is not uncommon by the way) to share some of her why and how to start a business that will succeed but more importantly, how to grow your small business.
Kalynn: A lot of people start a business and when it doesn’t work the first time the way they wanted it to, they give up. I think it’s very brave of you to keep moving forward. You’ve been an entrepreneur for a while. What is the biggest thing that you have learned about yourself or about your business since becoming an entrepreneur?
Christine: That’s actually a really loaded question. I’m joking, of course, but I want to peel out one thing, as Suzanne Evans says, “If you want the best course in personal growth, start a business.”
Kalynn: She does say that and she is absolutely correct.
Christine: Personal growth and huge learning along the way. But really in terms of being an entrepreneur, having left corporate — it was an instant community in corporate America — I could stop in somebody’s office, pick up the phone, knock some ideas around with other people. I think that was the biggest splash of cold water that I saw when I went into entrepreneurship. It can be really lonely. It can be very solitary.
I’ve learned over the years that building community, not only for myself, but among other solopreneurs [sole proprietors] or small business owners is really critical. The saying is it takes a village to raise a family or children. Well, it takes a village to grow a business as well.
Kalynn: Yes, it does.
Christine: It’s great to have other like-minded people supporting us. The fact is you don’t have to do it alone. It’s actually kind of crazy to do it alone. You don’t really have to. As long as you’re looking at your entrepreneurship or your small business and building your own support network that would be the number one thing I would advise people to do. If they’re thinking about starting a business or if they’re finding themselves hitting a lot of speed bumps along the way, look around and see if you have a strong enough community for your own support before you go out and try to grow your business.
Kalynn: What would be some of the parts of a good support network?
Christine: Number one is having people who are in a similar situation as you. Two years ago I started a mastermind group myself because I wanted to have the support of other people like I did at corporate. That’s one way you can do it. Just bring together people where you can knock around ideas, roll up your sleeves and take a look at your business opportunities and challenges and just talk about it with each other.
Tap into the wisdom of a group. That’s certainly greater than just the wisdom between my ears or one other person’s ears. That’s one way you can do it is pull people together yourself and really use each other in that way to talk about your business specifically.
Well, you heard Christine. With all the non-employer businesses in the US, there are millions of entrepreneurs, just like you, who are struggling with the same issues day in and day out. Form your village, have a network you can rely on and make a regular habit of meeting or speaking with them. You don’t know what you don’t know. But if you want to start a business, seeking people who have been there and have knowledge to share is a tremendous leg up.