Though there are definite risks involved for entrepreneurs, the spirit of independence can make it all worthwhile. And the happiness that it can bring is significant. According to a 2014 Gallup survey, 80 percent of small business owners said that, if they could do it all over again, they would take the same path to entrepreneurship.
“It’s a percentage that hasn’t changed much over the past 11 years,” writes Laura Entis in an article about the survey on entrepreneur.com, “which suggests that despite the setbacks and hardships many small-business owners faced during the Great Recession, they don’t regret taking the entrepreneurial plunge.”
Here are a few ways entrepreneurs can take advantage of the freedom they encounter.
Diversify client base.
Developing a solid foundation of clients is crucial. For some small businesses, the natural progression will be to branch out, in an effort to increase revenue and to ensure stability. Susan Payton writes about this in an article for smallbiztrends.com.
“A co-dependent small business owner gets their income from just a few clients,” writes Payton. “If one of those clients should leave, that business owner is in trouble. They’ll scramble to generate enough business to replace that single client. Instead, work to score a few key clients, as well as smaller ones, and become an independent business so that you’re not dependent on the money you generate with one or two clients. This way, you diversify your client list and if one client should stop needing your services, you won’t be desperate to pay your expenses.”
Keep your eyes on the prize.
Along with being the boss, financial independence is a primary reason to take the risks involved in starting a small business.
As Mike Templeman writes for entrepreneur.com: “You should want financial independence. However you define financial independence — retirement stockpile, unlimited cash potential or having the money to buy what you want — entrepreneurship can allow you to achieve it. Trust me, money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does make finding happiness much easier.”
Enforce payment terms.
As a small business evolves, its processes can be refined to take full advantage of its independence. This can include how and when clients make payments.
“If your customers are all over the place regarding when they actually pay their invoices, leaving you dependent on their wonky pay schedules to pay your own bills, lay down the law,” writes Payton.“Independent business owners have their own payment terms and clients who don’t follow them pay late fees. This will keep your cash flowing smoothly and keep you from having gaps in your accounts receivables.”
Give yourself a break.
Determining your own vacation time is a blessing, and it will help you in the long run by recharging your batteries. Catherine Lewis writes about this for business2community.com.
“It is easy to fall into the trap of working six or seven days a week if you run a business,” writes Lewis. “Plan a one-day break where you have to be away from your computer and can’t work — whether it is a day at the spa, hiking in a nature preserve or going to a ball game. You’ll be surprised how many great ideas percolate to the surface when you declare your independence from constant work.”