10 Oct What makes a contractor / small business owner tick?
As a small business owner who employs 11 people full time, I am familiar with the pressure and responsibility that every small business owner faces to their business is successful to ensure their skilled and valued staff are working and able to receive a full pay cheque to care for their families.
When operating a small business, we, the owners, typically know each employee, subtrade, supplier, service provider, and client on a personal level. They are important to us and often become friends. Therefore, we feel a personal responsibility to each person , which often drives us to go above a beyond. As the old saying goes, “You are the Chief, Cook & Bottle Washer”; which means as the owner, we do or have done it all, from picking up the trash at the end of a project to attending the flashy awards dinners. We are not afraid to get dirty and we are willing to complete the tasks that nobody wants to do. No job is too big or too small for entrepreneurs and every job must be done. Everyday, we must demonstrate to our staff and clients that we will do whatever it takes to get the job done and done right. Small business owners have a “can do” attitude or “if it is to be, it is up to me” type of personality.
Because small business owners are so emotionally invested in their company; growth can be a major challenge, mainly because we only have so much time and we often feel we need to do or direct everything personally, thus limiting our growth based on our personal time. When a company has success and growth, it becomes more difficult for owners to keep their finger on the pulse of every person and project. It is critical for owners to delegation responsibilities and implement processes to handle different elements of the business to avoid being stretched too thin. The small business owner’s ability to manage growth can be a main factor in a company’s decision to remain small, “mom and pop” or “boutique”, while others may capitalize on growth. I can attest to the fact that it is not easy to give up control! We had been in business for two years when I took a week-long family vacation and my wife asked why I had to call my staff every morning and evening to check in. My answer was, “This business is like a 2 year old baby, my baby! Wouldn’t you check on your 2 year old baby if you were away?” This is what it is like to be a small business owner; we are the creators, the care takers, the guardians of our businesses and we do not want anything bad to happen to our pride and joy. We worry, stress, work endless hours, and will do whatever it takes to protect, nurture, and grow our businesses, hopefully, to the point where it can thrive independently. For any parents reading this, growing a small business is very comparable to raising a child for entrepreneurs.
Being a small business owner is an incredibly rewarding experience; however it comes with plenty of stress, long hours, and sacrifice. Small businesses makeup over 90% of all business in Canada. In the residential renovations & building industry, almost 100% of all business are considered small (under 50 employees). We are an industry of small business owners, independent business people, and self-employed trades who, when combined, employ more people than any other industry in Canada. This is the power of small business; small in size but big on economic impact. This why when laws change, such as the most recent bill regarding taxes, impact small business, they simultaneously hit the bottom line of the Canadian economy. Small business is critical to our economy and I am personally proud to be a small business owner, doing my part to improve our country and province, one project, one employee, one client at a time.
Dan Monk, P.Eng. / Red Seal Carpenter
Owner – MONK Renovations