Owning a Small Business: Scary But Well Worth It (Infographic)

Being a small business owner can be scary. You’re taking on a lot of risk and responsibility. Of course, the payoff is tremendous rewards and a lot of control over your own life.

Some things, of course, are scarier than others when you’re a business owner, responsible for employees and the livelihood of the company.


In the October 2015 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard survey (our Halloween edition) we asked small business owners what scares them the most. The list looks like this:

  1. An increase in taxes on their earnings
  2. Government regulations
  3. Recession
  4. Employees leaving
  5. Stock market crash
  6. Their competitors
  7. Finding someone to take over the business when they retire

SurePayroll Scorecard October 2015 - Halloween edition

The common thread amongst the top three scenarios is that they’re largely outside the small business owner’s control. There’s not much you can do about the overall economy and how that impacts decisions made in in Washington, or vice versa.

The same could be said for the stock market, although in a previous survey 52% of small businesses said they are not affected by fluctuations in the stock market.

Stopping employees from leaving, fending off competitors and finding someone to succeed you are fears you can face head on. You can offer employees more incentives and customers more services. You can mentor a family member or trusted employee to take over when you’re ready to walk away. You need to juggle many things to keep everything in check.

Still, owning a business is a big burden to carry on your shoulders. A very big one. Our data indicates that nearly a third of small business owners are “working almost all of the time.” The majority (57%) work nights and weekends occasionally. Only 15% said once they leave work, they’re done for the day.  Yes, hard work/hustle has become an integral part of business ownership, whether you like it or not.

Despite the worries and the fears, though, 92% said they are happy with the balance of added responsibility and added freedom they have.

And optimism about the small business economy is up significantly from a year ago. Optimism has gone from 62% in October 2014 to 70% in October 2015.

There will always be risks and challenges at play when running a business. But business owners have an entrepreneurial spirit and that tends to mean they’re positive about the future. While the things on our list may scare them, they’re by no means afraid to face those fears.

And, at the end of the day, by and large they love what they do. The potential for profit and control is a risk they’re more than willing to take.