small business

Don Gayhardt Shares 10 FAQs about Running a Small Business

Recent reports indicate that entrepreneurship is on the rise in the United States, with modern technology bolstering the ability of startup founders to scale their businesses at lower costs. Those who are considering entrepreneurship for themselves should read through these 10 frequently asked questions to find useful facts and information about starting a small business in the modern economy.

Q: What kind of company is considered a “small” business?

home business

A: According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), a small business is generally defined as any company that employs fewer than 500 people. However, the SBA also dictates a size standard based on average annual revenues for the industry in which a company operates. Entrepreneurs can determine the size standard of their own business by checking the list of industry codes provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Q: How many small businesses exist in the United States?

A: The most recent data indicates that there are over 29 million small businesses in the United States. Of these, around 80 percent are non-employers, meaning they are run exclusively by the company’s founder, while around 20 percent are operated by the founder plus additional paid employees.

Q: How do small businesses impact the American economy?


A: Over 99 percent of all firms in the U.S. are considered to be small businesses, encompassing between 60 and 80 percent of all jobs in the country. As a group, they are responsible for roughly half of the American gross domestic product (GDP). In addition, small businesses contribute to high rates of job creation, market innovation, and diversity in the workplace.

Q: What skills do I need to run a small business?

A: While each small business will operate under different circumstances, there are certain skills that are universally important for an entrepreneur to have in order to run his or her company effectively. These include well-developed skills in areas like organization, planning, project management, communication, and sales. Entrepreneurs who find themselves lacking these abilities should consider taking business classes, finding a co-founder with complementary talents, or gaining business skills at another job before establishing their own company.

Q: Is it important to create a business plan?

business coffee shop

A: Yes, having a business plan is an important part of establishing a company of any size. A business plan outlines the company’s goals and presents market research and financial analyses that demonstrate the venture’s potential for success. Creating a strong business plan is crucial for entrepreneurs who want to attract investors, and can also be useful for educating employees and vendors about the company’s operations.

Q: How do entrepreneurs finance their small businesses?

A: Start-up capital is a must-have when it comes to establishing any business. A lack of sufficient start-up capital is one of the leading reasons why many small businesses fail. To fund a small business venture, entrepreneurs can look to banks for a loan, or may choose to finance from their own savings. Some entrepreneurs choose to petition friends and relatives for initial investment funds, while others look for financial support from venture capital firms.

Q: How much funding do I need at the outset?

A: Ideally, an entrepreneur should start out with enough capital to pay for a full year’s worth of operating expenses. This does not include the cost of initial expenses, such as equipment purchases or rental deposits for a workspace.

Q: What are the benefits of running a new business out of my home?

home business

A: About half of all small businesses are home-based in the United States for a reason. Operating a company from one’s home offers entrepreneurs a high degree of personal freedom, a lower degree of risk, reduced monthly expenses, and advantageous tax deductions. It also helps business owners save time by eliminating the need for a daily commute.

Q: What business services should I consider outsourcing?

A: Entrepreneurs without an accounting background should give some thought to outsourcing some accounting responsibilities. Keeping finances in order is an important part of running a small business, and business owners who are focused on too many aspects of operations may not be able to give accounting the attention it needs to stay error-free. Additionally, business owners should consider getting outside help with services like content marketing, which is an effective tool when done correctly, but requires a lot of focus to execute effectively.

Q: Where is the best place to look if I need help starting my small business?

A: Starting a small business for the first time can be a dream come true for many entrepreneurs, but that doesn’t mean the process is without hardship. Bearing the responsibility of running a new company on one’s own often brings about stress, frustration, and even feelings of loneliness. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help entrepreneurs deal with these pitfalls. Small business consultants make a living by coaching people through the process of running a business, and can offer useful guidance in the event that difficult problems arise. Additionally, government organizations like the SBA offer helpful information to small business owners through its website and physical locations in many major U.S. cities.

online business

4 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Make Money Online

Roughly 70 percent of businesses start out of the homes of entrepreneurs, driven, in large part, by the ease of making money online. When it comes down to it, an aspiring startup owner can begin with nothing more than a laptop, a Wi-Fi connection, and a good idea. Combine these three things with the ever-expanding digital landscape and the opportunities are limitless.

Anyone entertaining the idea of pursuing a home startup should survey the market to see what opportunities align with their interests or if creating an entirely new industry is their calling card. To help in the process, here are a few ideas for making money online that others have leveraged to achieve success.

  1. Create a blog

blogBlogging is one of the most cost-efficient ways for entrepreneurs looking to build an online source of revenue from home. Numerous platforms exist that allow users to sign up, create a blog, and start posting for free. They also enable users to upgrade to paid versions, complete with their own domain name, when sites start to take off.

Businesses of all types lean on blogs as a way to draw attention to their websites. The nature of posting on a predictable basis enables these sites to rank higher in Google’s algorithms. However, anyone interested in starting a blog can do so without any connection to an organization. In fact, well-run blogs can generate tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

The art of blogging comes down to committing to a subject and striving to continually improve each piece of content. As readership expands, the owner of the site benefits from businesses that will want to advertise, either through affiliate links or perhaps by mention in a post. Because of the versatility of the blogging platform, this opportunity is open to anyone who has a passion and wants to write about it.

  1. Write an e-book or audiobook

e-bookPerhaps after a successful run with a blog, or maybe even to start with, you might consider putting your writing out for public consumption in book form. The tools available in the digital age make it possible to not only create an e-book or an audiobook, but also to self-publish and self-record. Writing a book is time-intensive up front, but after completion, the final product can be a way to earn passive income.

Both Kindle and Apple have platforms for making self-published works available to the public. As with blogging, there is no limit or restriction on what one can write about. Some entrepreneurs have success with a new novel, while others can achieve equal returns by writing technical books, such as tutorials on specific computer skills.

Many authors have begun to turn to the audio medium, as audiobooks are quickly gaining popularity. In addition to being a trending market, these books give the writer an opportunity to put more of his or her personality into the final product. Reading an original work might, therefore, be a more fulfilling way to generate income using online tools.

  1. Become a freelancer

freelancerAnother option for writers and creators of all types is to freelance from home. For many, this route serves as a path for learning the online market before venturing out on a solo project or business. Additionally, freelancing allows people with developing skillsets to hone their talents.

Freelancing typically consists of completing writing tasks, such as content creation, proofreading, or editing. However, there are as many opportunities for people with skills in graphic design, web development, and even accounting. Sites like Fiverr connect individuals with these abilities and customers on a daily basis, allowing people buy and sell online at their convenience.

  1. Build a YouTube page

youtubeWhen YouTube first launched in 2005, it’s unlikely anyone could have predicted that in a few years people would leverage the platform to produce their sole income. The popular site for sharing videos has even made it possible for individuals to surpass a modest salary and become millionaires. One reason for the success of YouTube (and ‘YouTubers’, as they’re called) is that anyone can find an audience.

Building a YouTube page requires a long-term commitment because the chief way of making money depends on establishing a large following. Entrepreneurs may wonder what strategies they should employ to attract subscribers. One of the best ways to do this is to simply pick a topic of interest or an area of expertise and stick with it. The most successful YouTube channels are the ones that can carve out a niche.

YouTube creators should also strive to post new content on a frequent basis. This will help with the more specific ways of making money, which include ad revenue and sponsorship. By monetizing their videos, online entrepreneurs give permission for ads to play before their content. Thereafter, they receive revenue for any clicks generated. Sponsors also know the value of getting their product mentioned and highlighted by YouTubers, and they will pay for these services.

home office
Business, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Productivity, Uncategorized, Work at Home

More Than Survival: How to Create a Thriving Business at Home

After starting a business, entrepreneurs may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of decisions that have to be settled. However, if new business owners are not careful, the excitement of starting a new career can quickly give way to routine and boredom.

Wondering how you can make your entrepreneur’s journey more than just a job? Is it possible for your “work at home” job to thrive? Here is advice in several key areas for entrepreneurs who want to push their businesses to the next level.

On Starting Out

  1. Skip the Fancy Equipment

home officeIt’s tempting to think that you “need” a matching desk and credenza set to properly start your business. However, in all honesty, your old kitchen table and some metal filing cabinets would work just as well.

Instead of rushing to the nearest office supply store and maxing out your credit card to set up your new home office, head to your garage/spare bedroom/basement to see what you already have. Invest your money into making your business a success: producing quality products, providing excellent service, and developing a profitable company.

  1. Make Money Fast

Look for business ideas that will be profitable quickly. Try to develop a company that requires little start-up capital and starts making money right away. Have an idea that will pay off down the road? Put that plan on the back burner until you get an established revenue stream. Not only will earning money immediately bolster your confidence, it will help you pay for some of your long-term ideas.

  1. Use Deductions Wisely

Home office expenses can be used as tax deductions, but they are frequently mishandled or misapplied. In some cases, expenses such as office rentals or business trips may also be deducted. Consult with a tax professional or CPA to ensure that you are taking advantage of available tax breaks that you are eligible for as a home-based entrepreneur.

On Making Sales

  1. Pick Up the Phone

Despite the prevalence of social media campaigns, the telephone remains the most successful sales tool. Emails, instant messaging and other forms of communication are effective, but nothing can compete with an actual conversation. At every stage of the sales process, a phone call can make the difference between a shopper and a buyer.

  1. Leave Your Comfort Zone

Making a sales pitch can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences an entrepreneur must face. In order for a business to succeed, however, someone has to make sales, and generally that someone is the entrepreneur.

Practice giving your pitch to friends and family members until it becomes second nature and feels natural. You may not ever love selling, but at least your business will grow.

  1. Build a Network

networkInstead of using social media as a sales tool, prioritize your time on social media for being social. Connect with experts in your field, key contacts that may inspire you, customers who are enthusiasts for your brand, anyone and everyone who can help you generate interest and traffic to your business should become a part of your network. Network up by finding individuals who could mentor you as well as down by finding people you can encourage and assist.

On Connecting

  1. Be Authentic

There are enough automated services; be authentic with those you come in contact with. They’ll appreciate your transparency, and you’ll appreciate the ability to relate to your network. Personal, authentic relationships build business and create long-term customer engagements.

  1. Look for Common Ground

Find people who are searching for the services or products you offer. In years past, this could be difficult and include placing ads in the local paper or on the radio. Now, thanks to the world of social media and the internet, it is easy to place ads and find others who share your interests. Find ways to work together for success.

  1. Listen

The world is full of people who have more experience, more education, and more perspective on starting a business and making it a success. Listen to the advice of others that may be able to help you avoid mistakes, increase sales, and grow your business.

  1. Ignore the Irrelevant

Not all advice is beneficial. Ignore suggestions that aren’t valid for growing your business. Listen to what your gut is telling you. What works for some may not work for others, and ultimately you are the final judge on what your business may need. Don’t be afraid to disagree with some of the advice you’re given.

The journey to success can be filled with challenges. A successful entrepreneur, however, can use those challenges to create a business that thrives. Instead of simply enduring from day to day, a thriving business allows the entrepreneur the freedom to enjoy every step of the journey, no matter what challenges they may face. Start your journey to success with one of these work at home ideas.