If National Entrepreneur Day passed you by without much fanfare, have no fear: today, we celebrate YOU. The resilient and passionate innovator, creator and market disruptor who is taking your industry by storm while helping to rebuild the economy. From mom and pop establishments to the tech companies churning out the latest apps and gadgets, entrepreneurial products are ingrained in our day to day lives.
What is National Entrepreneur Day? This is a special day set aside to recognize and honor men and women who took a leap of faith and chartered their own course to create a business that helps make the world a better and livelier place to live. It began as the brainchild of three entrepreneurs: Grasshopper founders David Hauser and Siamak Taghaddos and The Legacy Foundation co-founder Amir Tehrani. After much support from other entrepreneurs and social media, the first National Entrepreneur Day was celebrated on November 20, 2010, with a proclamation from President Barack Obama. The day continues to be celebrated on the third Tuesday in November each year with a presidential proclamation.
While it can seem like quite the solitary endeavor taking a chance and working to build your business through its ups and downs, you are not alone. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy 2018 Small Business Profile:
- There are 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S.
- 99.9% of U.S. businesses are small businesses
- 58.9 million Americans own or work for a small business, accounting for 47.5% of U.S. employees
- 1.9 million net new jobs were created by small businesses in 2015
- 8 million small businesses are minority-owned
- The median income for individuals self-employed at their own incorporated businesses was $50,347 in 2016. For individuals self-employed at their own unincorporated firms, this figure was $23,060
As we continue to celebrate National Entrepreneurship Month during November, below are tips from other small business owners on ways to grow and efficiently manage your business:
- Be Very Specific About Your Goals. Sometimes your dreams and plans and seem daunting and overwhelming. Break up your goals into specific and measurable goals that you can accomplish in small steps. Set goals with deliverable dates (30 days, 90 days, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, etc.) to hold yourself accountable. Consider creating a vision board with your goals for a graphic reminder.
- Find Your Best Niche and Stick With It. The phrase Jack of all trades and master of none can apply here. While it may seem like a great idea to diversify to increase the number of sources of income, running too many services at once can be a drain on your time and your funds. Focusing on your best skill or talent will allow you to build a brand identity that can draw customers and carve out your place in the market.
- Keep Your Overhead Low. Keep operations costs down by periodically reviewing your expenses and determining if there are areas where you can cut back. For example, if the nature of your business is E-commerce, do you need to be paying rent for a large office space? There is a trend of shared office spaces may be the solution that you need. Also, rent prices can fluctuate drastically depending on the location. Moving to a different area in your city can drastically reduce costs.
- Delegate Whenever Possible. Most small businesses start off being run by sole proprietors who manage every task, from sales and invoicing to client relations and accounts receivables. While you are talented, it is unlikely that you are well-versed in every task. Attempting to go it alone can hurt your business by causing delays, added costs or lost opportunities. Consider hiring employees or outsourcing certain tasks to allow you time to focus on the plan and growth of the business.
- Build A Support Network. Running your business requires a lot of focus and sacrifice. That can leave you isolated from friends and family and easily discouraged when you have set-backs. Do not try to operate in a silo. Connect with like-minded individuals through networking groups and organizations. Join a Chamber of Commerce, seek advice from a business coach/mentor, participate in webinars and discussion forums. In addition to lending moral support as you work on building your business, this support network can lead to future contacts and clients that will benefit your business.
As an entrepreneur, you wear many hats, often working long hours and foregoing many of the “fun” to remain focused on creating, building and operating your business. Some days you may not see the fruits of your labor but understand that you contribute daily to the overall economy of the country. While we celebrate your entrepreneurship -the good, the bad and the ugly -in November, we know that our lives would not be able to operate as smoothly without your contributions.