In the second of this two part series based on Discover Card’s “Small Business Watch,” we’re looking at information derived from small business owners that will better prepare you to take that next step into entrepreneurship. Here are some things you might not know but better be prepared for:
- Nearly one of three business owners, 31 percent, indicated they work at least 10 hours or more per day on average. Only out of five non-business owners, 19 percent, worked the same each day.
- 15 percent of small business owners work every day of the week, more than twice as many, 6 percent, as the general population. Similarly, 28 percent of small business owners work six days a week, compared to 15 percent of the general population.
- Nearly half of small business owners, 47 percent, said that they always or mostly work on official holidays.
So if you’re used to a 9 to 5 life, think twice before starting a business.
- More than half of the business owners, 52 percent, took seven days or less off work last year, compared to 36 percent of the general population.
- 59 percent of small business owners define a “day off” as being available for calls and emails, working some time or even working all day at a remote location. Only 32 percent of the general population does the same.
- More than half of small business owners, 55 percent, said their spouses approve of them checking email when they are off from work, compared to 37 percent of the general population.
- “Small business owners are really focused on serving their customers every day. Our survey found that 40 percent of them carry wireless devices to keep in touch with their customers and clients when off work." “Being a small business owner often means that you are always open for business.”
When you’re a small business owner, your life is your business and your business is your life. It’s not even a matter of overlapping; they are totally intertwined.
Also, if you already own a small business or you’re thinking about starting one, then check out our new small business consulting service and give us a call for a free initial consultation.
According to the director of Discover’s small business credit card, more than a third of adults are interested in starting their own business some day. If you’re part of that one-third don’t go into it blind. Here are a few things you should be aware of:
In part II, we’ll look at how much time the typical small business owner devotes to his or her business vs. the general working population. Also, if you already own a small business or you’re thinking about starting one, then check out our new small business consulting service and give us a call for a free initial consultation.
Two weeks ago, Linda and I were at the Outer Banks with my best friend Alan and his wife Jean. Their daughter, Sylvia, who will be 25 this year, was with us as well.
Sylvia works for McKinsey and Company, one of the world’s largest and most successful consulting firms. She started working for them a couple of years ago, not too long after graduating from college, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business as a combination Office Manager/Gal Friday/Meeting Planner/Go-fer.
Whatever needed to be done, Sylvia did. There was no task too small; making sure the kitchen was stocked with food; that there was adequate office supplies; light bookkeeping; even loading, emptying and cleaning out the dishwasher.
Now most college graduates would complain about this. You would probably hear: “I didn’t go to college for four years to clean out a dishwasher.” But what they need to understand is that graduating from college doesn’t really qualify you for anything. It just guarantees for the employer that you can read and write (although some of the writing I’ve seen from college grads would scare the hell out of you).
When a company like McKinsey gives you a shot at getting in the door with an entry level job, you do whatever they ask and do it well, since the best way to get noticed is through your attitude, and that’s what happened to Sylvia.
Just recently, two directors at McKinsey were looking for someone to assist them with the implementation and administration of training programs, including online training. One of the directors had been visiting Sylvia’s office, right outside of Boston, and had noticed how well she did her job. She subsequently told Sylvia’s boss, “We want Sylvia.”
When the director met with Sylvia to tell her about the promotion (and very nice raise), the first thing she told her was, “We love your attitude. You never once complained about cleaning out the dishwasher!”
It doesn’t matter how you start, just get started. Get your foot in the door. There are no small jobs, only small people with lousy attitudes that all the degrees in the world couldn’t overcome.
Remember, you never know who’s looking, you never know what they’re looking for and what will catch their eye. But more often than not your attitude is what’s going to stand out.
In this short audio excerpt, Warren candidly explains a major turning point in his life when he decided to change careers.
The hour long interview can be found by clicking here.
A pet peeve of mine is people who look down on what others do for a living. Particularly, when people call jobs such as those at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart or various non-skilled (and even some skilled) jobs, “dead end” jobs. Fortunately, history has proven these white collar snobs wrong, time and time again.
A job put in the hands of a person with the right attitude, no matter how big or small and regardless of pay or stature, is an opportunity on a number of different levels always. Whether it is:
- To “Show your stuff.”
- To create a favorable impression.
- To get much needed work experience
- To learn responsibility
- To get your foot in the door, or;
- To be in the right place at the right time (which can only be accomplished if you’re in a lot of places), because you never know when someone will say, “I could use someone with your attitude.”
If you don’t believe stuff like that happens, let me introduce you to two people that I wrote about in my book, The Best Damn Sales Book Ever: 16 Rock-Solid Rules for Achieving Sales Success. There names are Wayne Thorpe and (my sister-in-law) Brenda Romano.
Wayne Thorpe was a high school drop-out whose job was cleaning out animal cages in a pharmaceutical research lab. The “Anointed” would tell you this was a dead-end job. But Wayne Thorpe is a man who exudes positive attitude, and let me tell you something about positive attitude: it’s a magnet for other people with positive attitude.
An executive at the pharmaceutical company was drawn to Wayne’s positive attitude and began mentoring him, and eventually pushed him to reach his potential. Wayne went back to school and became a toxicologist, and he got interested in business; after retiring from the pharmaceutical company, he started four companies and is now one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the city of Durham, North Carolina.
My sister-in-law, Brenda Romano, never went to college. Now I agree a college degree is better than a high school diploma, but why do we send out a message that without a college degree you’re doomed to failure? Instead, she went to secretarial school and then worked as a secretary at Wrangler jeans. However, her dream was to work in the music industry at a record company.
Finally, she was able to land a job as a secretary at RCA records. Most secretaries have a very poor image of their job. How many times have you heard one say, “I’m only the secretary here.” Of course, the fact that too many of them are treated poorly adds to that self-image. But not Brenda, she looked at the job as an opportunity and because of her “No problem attitude,” she was willing to do anything asked of her: working late, working weekends, relocating (3 times) and going way beyond her job description.
Of course, she was promoted and eventually moved on to bigger and better things with other companies. Today, she is the president of one of the most successful record labels in the business and one of the highest ranking women in the music industry. By the way, still no college degree.
My son Michael is taking a year off from college and is working full time as a pizza delivery man. He’s amazed at how many people look down upon him because of what he does, but is smart enough to know they’re essentially idiots. As his father, I can tell you this is the best thing he’s ever done, because I can see the benefits he has derived.
He has learned about the importance of showing up and showing up every day. He has learned how to deal with all sorts of customers and situations, an area where way too many executives could use some improvement. He has learned responsibility and most importantly, the value of a dollar. In nine months of working full time he has saved over $10,000! And, in case you were wondering, yes, I do charge him rent. I have a feeling he will learn more in this year than in the next 3 years at college.
I wonder how many successful executives, professionals and business owners got their start in one of those dead-end hamburger flipping jobs at McDonald’s? A job, any job, if nothing else, teaches you responsibility: show up on time, show up every day and work hard. What’s so bad about that? Everybody has to start somewhere.
Remember, there’s no such a thing as a "dead end job," just “dead end attitudes.”