Three Popular Misconceptions About Today's Small Businesses
Written by: Jared Weitz
The internet is both a blessing and a curse for the small business world. While the toils of many small businesses are now exposed to the public, others find themselves largely unspoken for. It seems that the majority of online articles about small businesses only describe a certain type of small business. You’d be hard-pressed to come across an article that exceeds this generic, idealized portrayal and paints a more realistic picture of the average small business leader’s experience.
The absence of such articles creates false expectations for potential small business employees. New recruits will likely be shocked when they discover that their new employer is not as progressive or unconventional as they thought.
Here are three popular misconceptions about today’s small businesses:
1. All successful small businesses grow very quickly.
It isn’t much of a surprise that this myth has become widespread, because the internet has always highlighted more exciting stories. Articles about growth, and the small business journey in general, give the impression that, once a small business gains momentum, the next step is a big one. It’s time to double the sales staff, move to a larger office or launch a new product or service. The reader might begin to think that, if a small business isn’t doing any of these things after three or four years of business, it’s probably going nowhere. He or she has likely only read articles about small businesses achieving tremendous goals in a relatively short timeframe. This becomes that person’s standard for small business success.
As the CEO of a business financing company, my main priority is helping small businesses grow. My team and I do not, however, encourage our clients to make significant, growth-related investments simply because they’ve been open for a certain number of years. Every business evolves at its own speed. Some businesses have to wait much longer than others to go through dramatic changes, even if they consistently break sales goals. Circumstances like industry downturns or business development issues might put expansion on hold, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the business isn’t doing well.
2. Working 9-5, Monday-Friday, is almost completely phased out.
You hear about it all the time: More and more small businesses are apparently letting employees work wherever they want, whenever they want. Another new trend I’ve noticed is not forcing employees to work a set amount of hours as long as they fulfill their daily, weekly or monthly obligations. While there’s no denying that minor perks like occasionally working from home or a loose dress code are on the rise, plenty of office-based small businesses are not ready to grant employees too much freedom just yet. Their employees are perfectly content with coming to an office five days per week and working 9-5 or longer.
A common trait in successful small businesses I’ve worked with is a tight-knit team. The employees legitimately enjoy each other’s company and have so much history together. New employees of office-based businesses should know that, if their job still requires them to come to work, it’s probably because their boss believes that, in order for a team to succeed, they should bond as friends and handle important, collaborative endeavors face-to-face.
3. ‘Perseverance’ and ‘courage’ are all you need.
Business financing professionals like myself are realists. Our careers have taught us that an underlying difference between the small businesses that succeed and fail is often access to affordable funding. So, you can just imagine what people in my field think of the countless articles claiming that the key to getting your small business out of a deep hole is “perseverance” or “courage.” Yes, mental strength is certainly vital for overcoming any daunting obstacle. But mental strength won’t magically produce the funds to keep your business running during a dangerously slow period.
Many small businesses were driven to failure because their leaders underestimated the task in front of them. They likely thought that, as long as their confidence remained unbroken, they could do anything. I can’t help but suspect that the aforementioned advice is at least partially to blame for such notions. It’s crucial for aspiring business leaders to understand that, when curve balls come their way, they’ll be thankful they focused less on building confidence and more on establishing a partnership with a non-biased business financing company.
New recruits are in for a reality check.
In my experience, the small business I described within these three sections is more like the average small business than what is frequently portrayed online. The business grows at a reasonable pace, is based in an office and seeks additional business funding during rough patches. This may not sound too exciting, but it sure isn’t easy, either. Anyone who has worked for multiple small businesses will vouch that each one is uniquely special, regardless of how traditional it appears on the surface.