By BOB POOR
February 12, 2012
Q: I have what I think is a wonderful idea for a start-up small business. My parents disagree, saying that I don’t know the first thing about running a business — and they are right about that. What are the possibilities of my being successful?
A: It sounds like your parents are being sincere about protecting you from failure. A good idea is a great start, but it does take hard work, research, planning and successful implementation strategies to turn your ideas into a business.
Unfortunately, entrepreneurship, whether large or small, suffers from a number of common myths about business ownership.
One big myth is that the majority of start-up businesses fail. In fact, according to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, 67 percent of new businesses are successful after four years; only 33 percent fail. Your goal should be adequate preparation to insure being one of the 67 percent.
Myth No. 2: As an entrepreneur, you won’t have to work so hard or put in such long hours, as with a job.
Reality: On average, entrepreneurs work far longer hours than do employees, but you will likely enjoy it more because you are building something of your own.
Myth No. 3: My product/service is unique and there is no competition. Reality: There is always competition. It might be in a different form or delivered in a different manner, but it exists, and you need to recognize and deal with it.
Myth No. 4: Business owners can deduct everything, so you won’t have to pay taxes. Reality: Entrepreneurs do get to subtract business expenses from their gross income, but they still have to pay taxes on their net income.
Myth No. 5: As a business owner, you won’t have a boss. Reality: You don’t have a boss — you have many of them, in the form of customers and clients.
Myth No. 6: Business owners get to do what they want to do. Reality: Sure, you will get to do some of what you enjoy, but some of your time will be spent on tasks you will find difficult or boring.
SCORE, for nearly 50 years, has been providing free business mentoring and low-cost education to the American public and corporations. Staffed by experienced business volunteers, your local SCORE chapter is available to assist you with your business idea, preparation to start your own business or helping you grow your existing business, for as long as it takes.
In Hagerstown, call SCORE at 301-766-2043 for more information. Register for mentoring, seminars/workshops and networking roundtables at www.scorehagerstown.org.
Robert A. “Bob” Poor is a local small-business owner/operator. He is a small-business mentor and a regular contributor to the Ask SCORE column. Questions may be emailed to him at email@example.com or sent by mail in care of The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741, ATTN: Ask SCORE column.
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