Phil Friedman

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Five MORE Myths Perpetuated on Social Media About Small Business

Five MORE Myths Perpetuated on Social Media About Small Business


A SECOND RUN AT MYTH BUSTING IN REGARD TO SMALL-BUSINESS...


Preface: This is a second go-round in debunking myths about small-business that are fomented on social media. Therefore, the numbering of these five myths begins at six. If you missed our first myth-busting adventure, the link to that article is listed at the end of this one.


"Small Business usually deals with known and established products & services ... [whereas] Entrepreneurial Ventures are for new innovative offerings..."

—  Investopedia

Five MORE Myths Perpetuated on Social Media About Small Business

There are many myths about small-business created and perpetuated on social media by people who lack even a passing real-world acquaintance with owning or running a business at all.


One of these is the view that every small-business person is ipso facto an entrepreneur. Nothing could be farther from the truth.


Most small-business people seek to provide proven goods and services on a stable, long-term basis to an established niche market, defined either geographically or by market segment. That is one reason why franchising is such an attractive option to would-be small-business owners.


Myth #6  — Owning and running a small-business puts you in the company of the highly successful entrepreneurs of the world...

This is pure poppycock. Working for yourself does not make you an entrepreneur. This is not a popular view, but it is, I submit an accurate one.


It has nothing to do with the relative size of the business(es) involved, but rather with the attitudes and approaches of those who own and run small-businesses versus entrepreneurial adventurists who are seeking to create new markets, stimulate rapid growth, and profit highly from innovation.


Seeing yourself as a globe-trotting celebrity entrepreneur like Richard Branson may cause you to stand a little taller and straighter, or to puff out your chest a bit, but it may actually harm your chances of establishing or maintaining a small-business on a stable basis.


Myth #7  —  Owning and running a small-business gives you the chance to pursue your "passion", while becoming wealthy...

Five MORE Myths Perpetuated on Social Media About Small Business

There is no doubt that one criterion of a successful life is whether you can make a living doing the things that you would do even if you did not have to work to make a living. But the fact is most people, small-business or otherwise, don't get to earn a living by doing only what they wan to do.

To say this, is not to seek to compromise your aspirations and dreams. Rather, it is to increase the probability that your expedition into the territory of small-business will, because sound judgements can only be made from a perch called reality.

The reality is that virtually all endeavors in life, business-related or otherwise, require doing some things you don't like or want to do. Excelling in a sport, for example, requires hard training and practice.  So too, running a small-business may involve at times firing employees  —  something that few decent people in this world care or want to do. Embarking on the road of small-business ownership and operation, without first coming to terms with this fact, is to court failure.

Myth #8  —  Running a small-business doesn't require the same education, training, or skills that running a big business does...

Five MORE Myths Perpetuated on Social Media About Small Business


Actually, it may require more. As a small-businessman, you will find yourself called upon to perform more cross-functional tasks that if you were involved in working for a big-business, or in an entrepreneurial context, where you have the luxury of hiring an array of people who are trained and experienced in doing all those things you're not trained or experienced in.

To my mind, small-business is best defined by a management structure that is much flatter than in a big-business. Small-businesses do not generally enjoy the luxury of having differentiated middle managers such as dedicated HR professionals, standalone accounting and financial centers, or purpose-designated marketing departments. So, the owner/operator of a small-business generally has to be a very quick study in successfully performing, or at least directing a wide variety of tasks. Which means that he or she needs to be just as well trained and educated as any high-level executive in a big-business... Not to mention more adaptable and quicker on his or her feet.

That is not to say every owner or operator of a small-business needs to have an MBA, or even a BBA or BSBA. It's only to   say that, if you are considering entering the world of small-business, you should not underestimate what you will need in terms of education, training, and experience.

To be sure, many small businesses are started by people with minimal education, training, and experience. But if they want to stay in business, they have to grow quickly into being able to meet the demands for management skills. For small-business really is a get smart or die environment.

Myth #9    In small-business you do what you love, and the rest (meaning income) comes to you on its own...

Five MORE Myths Perpetuated on Social Media About Small Business


Yeah, right. You gotta be kidding!

Only someone who's never been in business for him- or herself is going to tell you that. If your single-minded focus is to engage in some recreation, sport, or pastime, while at the same time have a living drop into your lap, good luck with that. Nothing, but nothing in life ever comes easily. So, why would you expect that in the world of small-business, it would be any different than it is in the rest of life and the world?

You should also think more than twice about turning a hobby or a favorite recreation into a business. For doing so often leads to less, not more time being available for actually pursuing that hobby or recreation. For example, most of us who build yachts generally spend less time yachting than we would, or did when we weren't professional boatbuilders.  That doesn't mean we're not happy with the mix. Most of us are. But the proper conclusion is that building yachts provides, at least to those who do it, as much satisfaction as sailing one does.

If you're thinking of starting a small business having to do with one or your recreational or sporting passions, consider whether that ill be true for you, as well. And if you won't, or don't derive as much personal satisfaction from conquering business challenges as you might from, say, being a downhill slalom champion, don't turn your skiing obsession into a small-business.

Myth #10 —  Owning a small business makes you the master of your own fate...

I suppose this one could be true. If you think you can simply decide not to pay your expenses. If you avoid having anyone work for you, so that you are not facing making a payroll every two weeks or month. If it doesn't bother you to have the city, county, state, and IRS chasing you for not filing your tax returns on time, or paying taxes due.

And if you enjoy hassling with landlords over how much your lease requires you to pay, and over all those services the landlord promised you before you moved in, like garbage collection more frequently than twice a year. If you are relaxed by thinking about where your next sales are going to come from, or whether your current bid for that big job is too high (and you'll lose out to the competition) or too low (and you'll lose money).

And if, moreover, you're stimulated by the notices from your accounting firm, internet provider, utilities company, and landscape maintenance firm that your rates are going up next fiscal quarter (after you've budgeted for the year at current rates). If you really think you don't have to make payments on your floorplanning or other business loan. If you can just shrug off the $50,000 in accounts receivables because the debtor just went into bankruptcy. If... if... if...

Be clear about it. Even if you own and operate a small-business, your fate will still be buffeted constantly by forces beyond your direct controlthe state of the economy, the weather patterns this year, the price of crude oil, the phases of the moon and which house the Zodiac, and whether you are an Aquarius or a Leo.

A wise man once said that what you own, owns you...

Five MORE Myths Perpetuated on Social Media About Small Business


I think it was either Willie Nelson, who made millions and apparently blew every penny of it. Or Johnny Cash, who was not exactly a model of rational thought, notwithstanding being a great C&W artist. But no matter, really.

The point is not to delude yourself that owning and operating a small-business will set you free. If you truly want to be free, you need to divest yourself of everything, material possessions, family, friends, the entire enchilada.

Owning and operating a small-business holds big positives for some people. For others it turns out to be worse, rather than better. And only you can decide into which group you will fall. The neat trick is to avoid falling for the myths that are propagated and perpetuated about it on social media.  —  Phil Friedman


Postscript:  Please do not mistake what I've said here as discouragement to pursuing your dream of having and running a small-business.  For it is not intended to be such. I have spent the vast majority of my adult working life as a small-businessman and consultant. Indeed, looking back, I would not have had it any other way. But that's me. And many other small-business people with whom I am acquainted and with whom I am friends. And my intent here is not to discourage, but only to encourage you to make or not make the leap based on a realistic view of what it is really like.  —  PLF


Author's Notes: If you found this article of value, you may want to take a look at the preceding piece

"Five Myths Perpetuated by Social Media on Small-Business".

You might also want to look at some of my other writing about small business operations, management, and marketing:

"Small Businessman's Primer to Inbound Marketing"

"Selling Bull Chips in a Bag"

"Maximizing Throughput on Fixed Assets and Overheads"

"Small Businesses Need to Keep a Close Eye on Gross Profit"

And if you would like to discuss marketing or other issues you face in your efforts to join the ranks of small-business, email or message me to arrange for a free, no-obligation, 1/2-hour initial consult.


To receive notifications of my writings on a regular basis, click the [FOLLOW] button on my beBee profile. As a writer-friend of mine says, you can always change your mind later.


Feel free to "like" and "share" this post and my other LinkedIn articles — whether on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. I ask only that you credit me properly as the author, and include a live link to the original work.


If you are interested in yachts, are allied with the yacht building industry, or operating a small business in another sector, you should consider joining my beBee Hive,

THE PORT ROYAL GROUP for Yacht Builders, Buyers and Owners

where you will find experienced industry professionals discussing a wide range of topics. The ongoing conversation is always interesting, informative, and 100% industry insider.


About me, Phil Friedman:
With 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation. In a previous life, I taught logic and philosophy at university.


The (optional to read) pitch: At www.learn2engage.org, we help you improve your reasoning skills and thinking abilities, and as a matter of course, thereby help you improve the quality of your writing. Instruction is handled directly by yours truly, both over the internet and in person, both one-on-one and in small supportive groups.


Five MORE Myths Perpetuated on Social Media About Small Business

For more information and to arrange for a free 1/2-hour consult, email info@learn2engage.org.


Text Copyright 2016 by Phil Friedman — All Rights Reserved 
Image Credits: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.com, GoogleImages.com, and the Port Royal Group


Five MORE Myths Perpetuated on Social Media About Small Business


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Comments
Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #15

#20
Thank you, Harvey, for reading and taking the time to say so. I believe that what I've relayed here is a measure of realism and I can only rely on the experience of readers to guide them to seeing that. Cheers!

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #14

In seeking earlier posts that are interesting this one came up in my search. This really laid out the myths of starting your own business.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #13

#17
@Praveen Raj Gullepalli - 100% wise words. You are right on top of it. Thank you for joining the conversation. I will be following you, and look forward to seeing more of your opinions. Consider, please, joining us in the ALL BUSINESS hive. Thank you for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #12

#14
Gert Scholtz - Thank you for reading and commenting, and for the kind words. I'd put #9 up alongside "Set your rates at what you think you're worth, " and "Don't worry that you're losing a little bit on each unit sold; you'll make it up in volume". The former is told you by your competition who wants to eat your lunch on bids, and the latter only holds true for Amazon. :-)

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #11

Thank you, Gert Scholtz, for reading and commenting, and for the kind words. I'd put #9 up alongside "Set your rates at what you think your worth, " and "Don;t worry that you're losing a little bit on each unit sold; you'll make it up in volume". The former is told you by your competition who want to eat your lunch on bids, and the latter only holds true for Amazon. :-)

Gert Scholtz

Gert Scholtz

4 years ago #10

Phil Friedman Incisive and wise post Phil. To my mind especially no 9 is true - that passion for what you do will sort out income and all the rest. A myth so often perpetuated in the motivational industry. I am saving this post and the one preceding to give to MBA students.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #9

#11
Oh, and Randy Keho, the guy in the paper hat and striped shirt is not me. He's the owner of a Chicago candy store, and the reason he is smiling is that his store is actually a drop for a numbers runner and a couple of bookies. (The photo was taken before off-track betting was legalized; now he's a sour old guy mugging old ladies for a few bucks a week.) Can anyone spell Damon Runyan?

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #8

#11
Randy Keho - No, I did not have to learn ALL of these lessons personally, thank the gods. A few I learned by watching friends, acquaintances, and members of my immediate and extended family, most of whom were small-business people. Through the years, I've seen success and joy at times, at others, failure and disaster. And I've worked for myself, and been a serial small business owner, for the greater part of my adult life. As to talking about entrepreneurs, I formed my observations and opinions through a decade of one-on-one with Andy McKelvey, he Founder and Chariman of Monster.com and Monster Worldwide, Inc. who was for a number of years my client, then my boss, and always my friend. The best -- and worst -- gig of my entire working life was several years as president and CEO of a major world-class shipyard that built and refit luxury motor yachts. The firm had two major shipyards, one in the midwest, one on the US east coast, some 600 employees, and grossed annually (in today's dollars) about $150 million. And I have to tell you that facing a payroll every month of more than a million dollars quickly drives any fantasies out of your mind very quickly. I trust that explains. And I will tell you that story about my wife and me nearly being swept out to sea, anyway. Cheers and thanks for reading and commenting.

Randy Keho

Randy Keho

4 years ago #7

I hope you didn't learn all of this the hard way. If you did, you don't have to tell me the story about how you nearly got lost at sea with your wife. I think I know how it happened. You're never too old to learn, stubborn, maybe, but never too old. Is that you in the paper hat and striped shirt? Your raw-info is refreshing. No hypotheticals in your world or mine.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #6

#8
You are spot on, Aurorasa Sima. Except sometimes The Force is asleep at the switch, and the earnest, but naive end up losing a pile of hard earned and hard saved cash by not understanding what they face, or by thinking it is all going to be so easy. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #5

Myths 7 and 8 are so true, Phil Friedman. You need to be able to market yourself and your business, file and bookkeep, look after creditors and chaise debtors, select and keep staff, maintain quality of service and/or products, be aware of WHS requirements and various levels of legislation, and that's all in addition to looking after your core business, the one that used to be your dream hobby. No surprise that so many small businesses don't survive the first year and many more are gone within two or three years after start-up. But the few who make it work ..... now there's a story!

Milos Djukic

Milos Djukic

5 years ago #4

#4
Great Phil Friedman. Then, I myself am an amateur.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #3

#3
Yes, Milos. The etymology of "amateur" is actually a highly skilled craftsman who works for the love of it. I think dating back at least to Aristotle. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

Milos Djukic

5 years ago #2

#2
Therefore, there is lucrative hobby.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #1

#1
Your are absolutely correct, Paul. What many people who talk about "amateurs" forget is that the true amateur is an enthusiast who has the luxury of doing absolutely magnificent work. The problem as a professional is that you cannot afford to do something so carefully, or over and over again until perfect, because you are usually constrained by a contract price. Thanks for reading and commenting..