Saturday, September 17, 2011

The 10 Worst Things About Owning A Business

Most of the time, being a small business owner is one of the many fulfilling experiences in the world. But then there are days where I wish I could just get a job! Having your own business has many frustrations that are out of your control.

Here are the top 10 worst things about owning a business and how to fix them:

1. Customers that say they will buy my product "next week" but then never do

If you really don't want to do business with me, I would appreciate the courage to simply tell me "no." You won't hurt my feelings by saying your business situation has changed. Solution: Call, write, tweet or text, even in the middle of the night. I appreciate a quick "no" much more than a "yes" that never comes.

2. People that make tons of money with no apparent business skill

Lottery winners I can cheer for. Dumb people in business with a bad idea and even poorer execution that strike it rich just make me cry. But as Jean Couteau said "We must believe in luck. For how else can explain the success of those we don't like?" Solution: Work hard and play the lottery.

3. People that don't respond to my e-mails or phone calls even after I have worked with them 

These aren't cold calls or people I have never met. These are people that have paid me money or I have had lunch with several times. Solution: Let go and forget them quickly. I don't want to do business with anyone that isn't interested. If you don't want to talk, send me an e-mail to buzz off. I won't be insulted, I will be relieved!

4. Customers that don't tell you they can't pay their bill

If you can't afford my product, don't buy it. Don't have me keep calling you with no reply looking for the money you owe. Solution: If circumstances have changed since your purchase, tell me. We will work something out. Lack of communication only leads to frustration and expensive conversations with lawyers.

5. People that are always late for meetings

Who taught you to tell time? If you are not a doctor or the cable guy, you need to respect a meeting time. Solution: Dial your cell phone and say you are going to be late so I don't wonder if I got the date wrong or you are stuck under a bus somewhere.

6. People that cancel a meeting less than an hour before it is scheduled to start

In this fast paced world, schedules can change quickly. However, don't routinely change your mind about meeting me an hour before we are to get together. Please remember that I have not yet mastered teleportation, so I typically need to leave 45 minutes to get to the meeting location on time. Solution: Look ahead at your schedule and cancel the day before if you are no longer interested or your schedule has changed.

7. Banks that reduce my line of credit even though my business is profitable and I have never missed a payment

Most banks do not want to take the risk of lending money to small businesses in this economy. However, don't cancel my line of credit just because my business falls into the wrong industry sector that has a high default rate. Solution: Treat my company as an individual customer (like you promised when you got my business) and look at the merits of each individual loan.

8. State and Federal governments that require a myriad of regulations to run a business

All I want to do is sell my products and services to other people who want to buy them. The variety of laws to be followed and taxes to be paid by a business owner are mind boggling. Solution: Stop trying to balance the government's budget on the back of my small business. If you leave my business alone, I can prosper and pay more taxes to you based on my profit.

9. Insurance companies that charge 25 percent more each year but reduce their benefits by 50 percent

I always have dreams about a business like health insurance where I can raise my prices 25 percent a year and offer 50 percent less services in return. Insurance is now the second largest cost for small business owners. Solution: Look at alternatives every year from different insurance carriers. It's the only way to keep the cost reasonable without passing every increase onto your employees.

10. Employees that  quit their job simply by not showing up

If you no longer want the job, please show up on your last day and politely quit. Don't just leave during lunch and never come back. Please give me a week's notice so the people left at the company don't suffer in your absence. Solution: Call, write, tweet or text so I can hire someone else.

What is the worst thing about running your business? What is your solution?

Thanks to Barry Moltz / Open Forum / American Express Company


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