Small Business Lesson #1
Believe it or not, it is possible to be earning a 6-figure annual income from your business and still be miserable.
Well, that's easy. If you're spending 80-hours a week engaged in activities you don't enjoy, then it's unlikely the 6-figure income and the few hours of free time will be able to make up for all those hours of misery.
Having experienced this phenomenon myself, my answer to anyone who ever asks me whether or not I think they should start a particular business is to ask themselves this question ...
If their answer to that question is a "no", then I do my best to persuade them to pass on that particular business opportunity.
If you don't enjoy the type of work you will be doing day in and day out, and/or the problem the business attempts to solve for others is not that dear to you, then any financial profits it generates for you will likely be more than offset by your emotional losses.
Small Business Lesson #2
One of the biggest mistakes I made early on in my entrepreneurial journey -- and one I made more than once -- was falling in love with a business idea so much that I felt thorough research of its profitability potential was unnecessary.
After going through several business failures it finally occurred to me that it's a lot easier to go broke laying on the couch than it is to work 80-hours a week to go broke.
Once I fully embraced that concept I began to approach each subsequent business idea with the mindset that the business idea was destined to fail -- unless my thorough research of its probability of success could prove otherwise. In other words, if I can't make a business idea work on paper, I won't try to make it work in the real world.
Case in point: I love to golf and wanted in the worst way to open an indoor golf simulator business in my local community. Well, after locating a few indoor golf simulator businesses in similar sized communities with similar demographics and weather patterns, and keeping a close eye on them, every one of those indoor golf simulator businesses ended up "out of business" within one year of locating them. It was heartbreaking, to say the least.
So while watching a beloved business idea fail in the research stage can be heartbreaking, it's much less traumatic and less devastating -- and much easier to recover from -- than having it fail after making a go of it in the real world.
Small Business Lesson #3
Like other forms of "easy access to credit," easy access to small business loans can easily undermine your natural decision-making and problem-solving abilities.
It's always easier to spend other people's money -- because it's money you haven't had to earn with your own sweat, blood, and tears.
Unfortunately, we all tend to view "borrowed money" as other people's money, when in reality it's not. Because when we are forced to pay back the money we borrow it will be with money we had to earn with our own blood, sweat, and tears.
Therefore, to ensure you're not undermining your natural decision-making and problem-solving abilities, before taking out a starting-a-small-business loan, honestly answer "yes" or "no" to this question ...
If your answer to that question is a resounding "Yes!", and your unbiased research has shown a high probability that the business will be able to repay the loan and still leave you enough to live on, then a small business loan may be worth shopping for.
On the other hand, if you had the small business loan amount in your bank account, but you would not consider parting with it to start this business, then you probably shouldn't consider borrowing the money to start it either.