Starting and running a business is hard. Really hard.
To make it work, you have to stay on your grind and outwork your competition. Eighty-hour weeks are the norm. You need a Bay Area venture capitalist, bi-annual team retreats on a beach in Thailand and an impressive hockey stick growth curve to blog about.
Or do you?
The conversation about entrepreneurship has taken a strange turn over the past few years. The focus on tech startups “disrupting” industries has left millions of small businesses owners wondering where they can get some real advice for their textile manufacturing plant or roofing business. The winner-take-all mentality of Silicon Valley doesn’t do much for the bakery owner or the third-generation laundromat operators.
“Unicorn or bust” is rarely the right strategy. As Basecamp cofounder Jason Fried says in Inc, “You don’t have to be Apple, or Amazon, you don’t have to be a wildly-growing company. You can be a really great company building something useful for your customers and treating them well, treating your employees well, and making a great living.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Celebrating Small Business—Without the Hype
As of the 2010 Census, there were 27.9 million small businesses in the United States (PDF). Who are the people starting and running these businesses?
They are our parents, brothers, sisters and friends. They are job creators and problem solvers. They probably aren’t disrupting an industry, nor do they care to. Some small slice of this group is creating tech that will change the world, but most satisfied making a dent in the universe.
The huge majority of these businesses—greater than 99% of them—have less than 500 employees. Many of them stick around for decades.
Intuit has been helping these small businesses succeed since 1983. Our Resource Center is ramping up its production with a eye towards helping the 99% tackle their most pressing challenges.
Here’s what you can expect to find in the coming weeks and months:
1. Real entrepreneurs, real stories.
We’ll be sourcing stories from small business owners all around the country. There is incredible knowledge and experience locked in the brains of entrepreneurs. Our goal is to export that for everyone’s benefit.
2. Data-backed advice.
There’s an enormous amount of open data about small business and consumer behavior. We’ll be crunching the numbers to share trends and deliver proven best practices.
3. A focus on durability.
A full 91% of active small businesses weren’t started in the last five years (PDF). We’ll focus more on staying in business than starting a business. Of course, we’ll still provide resources for soon-to-be entrepreneurs, but keep an eye out for stories about businesses that have been in the game for decades—there’s a lot to be learned here.
4. No sugar-coating.
The challenges of running a small businesses are very real. We’ll never water down the stress that business owners feel. If we offer advice, it’s because it was learned in the field, not on Wikipedia.
5. Practical applications for technology.
There’s plenty to be learned from the way Amazon streamlines its supply chain, but you might not have a few billion dollars on hand to optimize your own. Technology is shaping the way nearly every business operates and we’ll look for practical ways to improve your operations and save money with tools and software.
We’re excited to begin this new journey with you. The easiest way to follow along is our email newsletter, which you can sign up for on the right. If you have feedback, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Here’s to your continued success.