Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, creating countless jobs and driving innovation. However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, for the first time since the agency began tracking small businesses thirty years ago, the number of closures is exceeding startups.
Entrepreneurs face numerous uncertainties, from the bifurcated economic recovery that favors larger companies, to politics and increasing regulations, not to mention access to capital and top talent. But experts say people can overcome the fear factor if they combine their passion with business smarts.
“Any time is a good time to start a business,” said Susan Solovic, a former C-suite executive, serial entrepreneur, and New York Times bestselling author. “Owning a small business is one way to build wealth for yourself and be economically independent. Yet too many people believe if you’re passionate about your business you can’t help but be a success. One of the reasons so many small businesses fail is because they don’t understand the fundamentals of running a successful company.”
Solovic, who goes by the moniker, “THE small business expert,” is teaching an openSAP Thought Leader MOOC entitled, “Women Building Outrageously Successful Businesses from Scratch.” You don’t necessarily have to be a woman to learn something valuable from this course.
“We originally wanted to provide content directed towards women business owners − either startups or those trying to grow their companies. But we realized this content isn’t just for women. I do talk about the nuances and challenges women face unique to their gender. Overall, though, it’s valuable content for anyone thinking about or already having started a new business,” said Solovic.
Learn the fundamental truths
Many ingredients go into startup success including the owner’s personality and leadership characteristics, having a realistic vision and plan, the ability to pitch investors for funding, recruiting the right team, using social media and other strategies to build the company brand, and avoiding burnout.
“If you don’t map out the steps you need to take and resources required for success in the early stages of starting a business, you get so busy that you don’t have time to lift your head up. You have to lay that groundwork early,” said Solovic. “You also don’t just go out and hire your next-door neighbor. You need to focus on the skill sets that will grow your business, asking yourself what will complement your own strengths and weaknesses.”
Scalability is one of the biggest challenges. “In order to have a scalable business you need a product or service that can be repeated,” said Solovic. “Too many small business owners haven’t thought about scaling. They are so entwined with what they are selling that if they stop doing anything the business stops.”
Registration for Solovic’s openSAP MOOC is open now, offering guidance that she hopes will help aspiring and current small business owners buck the trend. With the right information about business fundamentals plus passion, here’s hoping more startups will open their doors and succeed.
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