Every small business owner has to address this question: How do you want to live?
For some, it’s enough to own your own jobs. But for others, freedom means passive income and creating something they can pass on to their children (without making the children pass out from overwhelm and exhaustion). And for another set of small business owners, the preferred lifestyle is working in a business that they love and having a reliable team that allows them to take one or two worry-free vacations a year.
The goals are personal.
What is your long-term goal? Small business retirement:
For example, do you plan to retire? If so, when? And who will run the business at that point? In “Why Retirement Isn’t in the Cards for Many SBOs,” Anita Campbell, founder of Small Business Trends, highlights a survey, Small Business Owners’ Perspectives on Retirement, conducted in December 2010, which “polled 1,433 small business owners of companies with two to 99 employees.” In the survey, only 4 percent said they plan to retire while just 33 percent have a succession plan.
In reality, retirees often to choose to stay active; it seems to keep them young. But the key is the choice—the freedom to choose to work at 70 because you want to, instead of having to work because there’s not enough money or passive income for your lifetime.
But that’s not the only lifestyle decision to consider.
Where do you want to live? Best cities for minorities:
In “The 52 Best Cities for Minority Entrepreneurs,” Anita mentions a survey released by Forbes. In this survey, Joel Kotkin, Wendell Cox and Erika Ozuna “studied minority and immigrant entrepreneurs,” and found the top three cities for them are Atlanta, Baltimore and Nashville, because of affordable housing and the cost of commercial space.
But regardless of where we live, what we look like and when we choose to retire, small business owners share a common reality:
The better we position our businesses, the more clients, income and freedom we have.
For a few practical tips on positioning yourself, you may want to check out Ivana Taylor’s article, “5 Big Reasons Your Ideal Customer Isn’t Choosing You.” According to Ivana, one issue you may encounter is that your audience is too big. She writes:
“Saying that ‘everyone’ is your customer actually reduces the number of customers who are interested in your product.”
And she suggests a little research to help you find your niche. Getting clear about how you want to live, both today and in retirement, determines your goals and your sacrifices. Answering the lifestyle question determines your future.
Image from grafvision/Shutterstock
Jamillah: Thought provoking post! I will print it out and think about this question. I don’t think you should call it sacrifice, because that is not a virtue in my vocabulary. It is a matter of core-values and priorities.
Questions. The problem I’ve found is that most people don’t believe they have a choice. They have been told from birth that you work in a job you don’t like and just suck it up.
We all have a choice. It is the greatest gift that has been given to us. I am so grateful for the blessings that choice has afforded me in my business and live. It is sad to see so many people living without believing they have a choice to leave their J.O.B. and venture into a world where they pursue their passion.
“Lifestyle” is HUGE for any small business owner, but the definition of a good lifestyle depends on the individual. We all have very interesting choices today. I had a family with three children, so my lifestyle operating my business was to spend as much time with them as possible, even leaving work early to attend their activities. Longterm goals are the key. I wanted to sell my company at 50 years of age, and planned it out. It happened at 51. With vision and goals you can move the world.