Challenges aren’t new to small business owners. In fact, if you’re not up for challenges, small business ownership is not for you!

Many people talk about owning their own business and dream of ‘being my own boss.’ In reality though, few take the plunge and when they do the majority, 90% according to the Sage Small Business Owners’ Study (September 2013), say they are satisfied owning their own business.

There are 2.4 million small businesses in Canada, employing 5.1 million people, and 43% of new jobs are created by small business, according to the survey/report.

While most small business owners report satisfaction, 32% have occasionally thought about leaving the business to work for someone else, 13% have seriously considered doing so and 56% report they don’t think about this at all.

Angus-Reid-SAGE-SurveyThe report comes out of an online survey of Canadian small business owners, conducted by Angus Reid between September 20 and 23, 2013. More than 500 businesses completed the survey and 67% reported being in business for more than 10 years, 19% 5 to 10 years, and 14% under 5 years.

Some of the reasons people consider leaving their business include:

  • 31% report the business is “more work/time than I thought”
  • 30% report they are “dissatisfied with the progress/sales of my business”
  • 22% report they “could not make a living”
  • 10% report they “could not handle finances and compliance issues”
  • 29% report “other reasons”

According to the survey news release on MarketWired:

  • 27% of small business owners are working more hours per week compared to five years ago.
  • 62% of small business owners are working both longer days and on weekends.
  • Woman who own businesses reported working more hours than men who own businesses.
  • Small business owners are vacationing less with one in four taking less vacation.
  • 61% of small business owners who report dissatisfaction with being a business owner are more likely to report taking less vacation.

Interestingly, those dissatisfied with being a business owner are more likely working less than they were 5 years ago.

The results show that while most small business owners are happy to be such, they are also investing significant time and effort into their businesses, often working both longer days and on weekends. This isn’t surprising news to those of us who are small business owners. But in a world where technology is requiring us to learn, adapt and stretch almost daily, the time and money needed to do so adds further stress to our already taxed resources.

One of the challenges many small business owners face today surrounds the use of social media. According to the Sage survey results, only 53% of small businesses utilize social media for business purposes: 37% Facebook, 32% LinkedIn, 15% Twitter, 5% Pinterest and 2% Instagram.

And those businesses that do use social media, particularly Facebook, are discovering that what was once viewed as FREE advertising is no longer free. The social media landscape is changing and in order to reach your target audience in the future (and the future is here) you will need to pay for the pleasure. Social media reach, like traditional advertising, comes with a price tag. For those who are early adopters and accept this reality and use it to their advantage, the potential payoff, assuming they have a solid product and service and deliver on their promises, is huge.

In the coming weeks I’ll look at this issue more closely, so stay tuned.

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