More and more business owners are telling me this. They are continuously complaining about working harder for less and just not having fun anymore. And more than a few are looking at killing their business and getting a 9-5 job where they don’t have to deal with all the hassle.
So what’s changed?
First, it’s not 2007/early 2008 anymore. The economy is still tough. Yes, many of their competitors have gone out of business, but consumers are still hesitant to spend. And when they do spend, they are looking for the best value only. This often causes the business to lower prices while increasing services, which leads to a much smaller bottom line.
The second thing business owners are dealing with is a rapid rise in regulations along with an increase in audits. The number of Texas sales tax audits, IRS income tax audits, Texas Workforce audits, wage & hour audits, alcohol & tobacco audits, I-9 immigration related audits, etc., etc., etc. has increased to a level higher than any I have seen in my 35+ years working with small businesses. To put it simply, small businesses seem to have become a target for every government agency as they look for ways raise more revenue.
Finally, 2012 is a year filled with uncertainty. The coming 01/01/13 taxamageddon (Where the Bush tax cuts expire and the ObamaCare tax increases start) and the possible changes that may result from the November elections has put uncertainty and fear in many business owners. When there is uncertainty in business, business owners often hunker down and get ready for the worst.
So what should business owners do?
First, make an honest assessment of your business and why you are in business. What is your higher purpose? It is my experience that those business owners who survive tough times have a “calling” to serve others. They truly believe their business is there to help others.
Second, examine your industry looking for trends and opportunities that you can take advantage of. Accept that this is a new time where only the businesses that are professionally run by owners who take the time to educate themselves in all areas of business will survive.
Finally, business owners who invest heavily in smart, targeted marketing will be positioned not only to survive these tough times, but to thrive when the economy finally does turn around.
So, until next time, thank you for your continued support and let’s make this year our most profitable year ever!