Micro-Businesses: Do You Know Who You Are?

If you’re a micro-business, you probably know who you are – at least on the surface.

Approximately 77.5 percent of micro-businesses have fewer than 10 employees. Around 22.5 percent have no employees. About half are home based, and the other half work out of an office or other facility. These businesses are responsible for more than 65 percent of the gross domestic product.

But, do you have a deeper understanding of what drives people to start, and maintain, a micro-business?

There are many reasons why people start their own micro-business. Some may want more flexibility to pursue other passions, such as raising children or having more time away from the office. Others may have a vision for a new business idea, or identified an untapped market, that could only be brought to life if it was focused on 24/7.

Next, let’s look at what you may be unwilling to do while running your business. Do you derive so much pleasure from the business you started – which could include a home catering business to a five-star restaurant, or a home-based computer repair service to a software startup – that you do not have time for activities that might save you money? For example, research has indicated that many small business owners find the time it takes to fill out forms associated with government tax breaks so onerous that they don’t even bother. The same reticence applies in many cases to spending a couple of hours every week networking in order to meet people that could help expand your business or secure federal or state government contracts.
Furthermore, let’s examine how you spend your day. A day in the life of a “typical” micro-business owner varies tremendously, depending on your industry. However, research provides some insights into what you may have in common. For example, micro-business owners spend significantly more time on the Internet in comparison to other professionals, according to a study from Jupiter Research. This is not to say that you’re spending hours playing online video games or chatting with friends or family members. Most micro-business owners are using the Internet to respond to content and engage in community sites targeted to members within their industry.

Now let’s take a peek into the ideal office of a micro-business owner. Studies have shown that acting as if you’re leaving the house for the office, and setting up a professional work environment, can help home-based business owners be more productive. Suggestions to achieve this include getting dressed in clothing that is business casual; making sure family members understand that, even though you are working from home, you will not be available for non-work activities between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.; and investing in furniture and computer equipment that is professional and comfortable.

Lastly, now that you have an idea of who you are as a micro-business owner, let’s take a brief look at who you are not. Research shows that the majority of micro-business owners are not interested in growing their businesses beyond a certain size. A majority of micro-business owners started their own companies because they love the hands-on work they do and growing past a certain size would require delegating that work. Also, many are more interested in the work/life balance that owning a micro-business allows. Therefore, growing into a multi-million dollar colossus is probably not on your list of professional goals.

Does this sound like you? What other traits and/or behaviors characterize micro-business owners?

Comments (11)

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