One day I am going to write a book titled So You Want to Start a Business and chapter one will be titled Don’t. It is the best advise that anyone can give any want to be business owner. I’m not saying I regret my decision or that owning a business isn’t at times enjoyable it is just not something anyone should ever want to do.
Owning a business is full of stress, time constraints, and a whole bunch of other things I can’t think of right now that are equally unpleasant. Now why shouldn’t someone want to own a business? Because failure is a near certainty. At times it feels like I’m waiting to fall. Like I am living with the sword of Damocles hanging over my head and one day it will fall.
The vast majority of businesses fail within their first year. Even if a business is a low overhead business it takes a tremendous amount of capital to get started. Most businesses aren’t profitable for their first three years. A person can make 25% more selling their labor than running their own business. There are so many negative things about running a business that an entire industry centered around the myth of positive thinking exists to goad people into continuing to open new businesses.
If you’ve watched or read the news recently you’ve heard about the worker shortages or daycare shortages or wage issues or whatever you want to call them. All or most businesses are understaffed right now. It is a big issue, but here is the other side of that. Hiring is always a business’s first, second, and third biggest problem. Ask any business owner what their biggest struggle is and if they don’t say hiring they are lying. Getting and keeping good people is always an issue.
There is a reason the saying good help is hard to find has been around for as long as it has. It is true. It is terribly difficult to get and keep good help. It is even worse in my industry where working with animals and visiting cats and dogs sounds like fun to so many people then they start doing it as a job and discover it is a job. We expect them to show up to where they said they were going to be when they said they were going to be their and then to keep doing it over and over and over again.
It is hard to keep good staff when disillusionment within one or two weeks is common and by that time we have invested our time and resources into training and client introductions. Then after they’ve given their notice we have to message clients and tell them oh by the way we need to send someone new again.
The biggest puzzle to me is our prices are the highest in town. This means we should be paying more than anyone else as well. I am sure they are having the same struggles we are because good people are hard to find but sometimes it feels like the only black clouds are the ones over my head. In other words if you want a life full of stress and worry then open a business or open a business and tell yourself the stress and worry is the price of freedom or something like that or say your stress and worry is the test you have to pass to earn the theoretical life on the other side.
You now the old saying about the definition of insanity being doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That also describes the hiring process for small businesses.