A few days ago we posted on LInkedIn a question "How to influence small business owners to start planning their business?" We received very interesting answers from both business consulting professionals and small business owners that we'd like to share with you.
answer from Rick Feltenberger, Strategy & Operations
Jacob, you have identified a significant problem in the SMB [small business] space. Let me relate a very short story to lay the foundation.
I was chatting with a small business owner who quite frankly told me "Rick, I just don't get why anyone would hire a consultant for their business. I mean, are other business owners just stupid or what? I just don't get it."
The point of the story is that, like my friend, many SMB owners have generally worked their way from a trade/technical/professional position within a Company and then ventured out on their own. I will tell you that most of them were one of the best skilled persons in their field when they saw the opportunity to experience entrepreneurship first hand.
As we all know, functional skills are necessary but not sufficient to run & grow a successful business over the long haul. The stats are well known: 90% of all new start-ups fail within the first 5-years. Of the survivors, over 50% fail within the next 5-years. It isn't always due to the lack of a written plan, but it is generally due to the lack of planning skills.
There are some SMBs that manage to make money and provide a very nice living for the owners even when they "do 80% of the wrong things" over the course of time. God bless them and I hope their luck holds out.
My experience is that luck does run out. Do they lack basic business education? Most assuredly. Are people inherently disorganized creatures? For the most part, yes. The bottom line is that, like my example, they either don't know what they don't know or they simply think that they know it all.