Small Business News

Entrepreneurship and all the “Little Ducks”
Published: Monday, January 13, 2020
By: Shaun Sappenfield

Entrepreneurship isn’t quick and easy, there are many “little ducks” to gather into a row before you get to the last little duckling named Profit. The initial stages of taking an idea from concept to reality evolves that certain demands are thrust on an entrepreneur, and I believe these individuals must prepare and understand themselves just as much as their business model.  Having been a son of a small business owner, I can remember my Dad worrying about issues at the “shop” and wondering why it was always on his mind.  I now understand that his business concerns were directly connected to his family’s wellbeing.

In today’s information age, we can instantaneously access resources and data with a simple Google search.  The Internet is filled with an unlimited amount of reference material, whether free or fee-based, to help guide budding entrepreneurs as they are assessing the viability of their business idea.  This is not to mention the wide array of public and private entities that have been formed to support entrepreneurs and business startups.  In Jefferson City, entrepreneurs can take advantage of services and support provided by Lincoln University’s Small Business Development Center, Missouri Women’s Business Center, University of Missouri SBDC and the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce. 

There is one little duck that sometimes feels neglected and probably needs to move to the front of the line – self-evaluation.  Do you have the passion to maintain and oversee a small business for the long haul?  Do you have the skillset, expertise, capital, and the day-to-day drive it takes to keep the doors open?  These are sometimes hard questions to answer as it depends on multiple aspects of one’s personality, family needs, lifestyle and willingness to take on financial risk.  I firmly believe a critical assessment of one’s personality and lifestyle must be explored before any intensive planning and/or expenses are incurred.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20 percent of small businesses fail within their first year. By the end of their fifth year, roughly 50 percent of small businesses fail. After 10 years, the survival rate drops to approximately 35 percent.

The success of a small business is, obviously, dependent on a multitude of factors some of which are not directly controllable by the decisions made by ownership to mitigate concerns.  Entrepreneurs must evaluate and envision what their future lifestyle might be as the demands of running a business will dictate one’s day-to-day schedule. In other words, this is a marriage that demands full attention.  In my opinion, a proper evaluation must include family and close friends as these individuals will provide honest and caring input which will guide one’s ultimate decision to chase the dream of business ownership.



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