Thursday, June 25, 2009
What’s it like to be a…Small Business Owner?
My job title is: President of a small business with 25 employees.
My actual position is—Small Business Owner, Troubleshooter, Salesperson, Personnel Manager, Financial Planner.
What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
Arrive at 7:00 or 8:00, do what is necessary to solve any problems, plan for a future with fewer problems. Some weeks are 30-40 hours, some weeks are 40-50 hours.
What other positions have you held prior to your current job?
School teacher, college professor.
How did you get to where you are now?
Networking led to an offer to buy into a niche educational business.
What kind of training/education did you have?
Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate. I also audited about six college business courses (including management and basic accounting) before taking over the business.
What qualifications/skills/attributes make someone successful in this position?
Common sense, intelligence, honesty, commitment, organizational skills, follow-through, a bit of tech savvy.
What are the rewards in your position?
The pay has been decent.
Hiring the right personnel, motivating personnel, anticipating problems.
What makes a good day for you?
Few problems and being able to leave a bit earlier than normal.
What trends or changes do you foresee in the next 5-10 years?
Greater reliance on the internet for everything, so less opportunities to create meaningful personal interactions. Also, sadly, less reliance on “service” as key component of business success.
How could a person find out more about your field?
Trade magazines in this niche educational market are available.
Can you suggest any careers which are similar to yours?
Any small business has similar challenges—you need to know the niche well, be willing to do a little of everything, and commit time and resources to succeed.
When you were growing up, did you have any interests that you have built into your work?
Just normal curiosity about many things. My education was humanities-oriented, and it did serve me well.
What obstacles have you overcome to get to where you are today?
In early days we had to live fairly frugally and save money with considerable discipline.
What was your first job like after college?
Teaching—I liked it but was curious about other challenges.
How do your beliefs and values or worldview perspectives impact what you do at work?
Honesty, dependability, common sense, respect for others and people skills, and good knowledge of your market niche will create opportunities for but do not guarantee success.