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Being or Building: Small Business Development for Your Goals

Posted by PCC Small Business Development Center on October 09, 2015

small-business-developmentFor those just starting out as business owners, or those interested in building a business from scratch, the idea of becoming self-employed is something you likely thought long and hard about. The misconceptions that some have of being a solopreneur is that it automatically allows for freedom and unlimited growth potential. While these are certainly benefits to having a successful business of your own, they aren’t guaranteed. Knowing the difference between being and building a business can help you focus your longterm goals and find the building blocks needed for your unique business development that can take you to that next level of financial success and personal freedom.

The Difference Between Building and Being

The terms “building” and “being” may seem interchangeable when you’re first starting out. However, there are distinct differences that set self-employed entrepreneurs apart from business owners. If you are unsure which you are (or want to be), think of your end goals. For example, do you want to build your retirement wealth inside a business that produces income for you, or would you rather build it outside the business with your own funds and investments?

The main difference comes down to working on your business versus working in your business. Those building a business are effectively working on it. They have to hire employees, develop an organization and written procedures, and charge enough money for their product(s) or service(s) to bring in help and reinvest in the business. The goal for working on your business is to grow it to a point that it can function even if you are not there.

This contrasts sharply with working in your business. Solopreneurs, or those who are the sole member of their company, spend their time carving out a specific niche that charges a premium price for their work. This means that the business depends entirely upon the owner. There is no time to build the kinds of processes and structures that would allow them to sell their businesses because the business cannot function without them. In other words, their goal is not to create the business itself but rather the product or service that the business generates..

At the Small Business Development Center, our advisors serve as a counselor to those learning how to grow their business from the bottom up. This includes teaching systems that you can use to delegate tasks so that you can move on to other areas such as producing new products, interacting with clients, investing in new markets, and establishing relationships. This creates constant growth and innovation, and a business that survives and thrives.

Building Rather Than Being a Business

Small business development takes both time and energy to get off the ground. When you choose to build a business rather than to be a business, the end goal is to eventually hand over the reigns and to let the business run on its own; unlike solopreneurs who are on-call 24/7 and tethered to the demands of their clients. Whichever path you choose, it is important to learn the tools that will help you master the ins and outs of managing and creating a viable business.  


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The Oregon Small Business Development Center Portland Community College has  helped thousands of businesses over the past 40 years. We combine one-on-one  advising with programs taught by business experts, giving our clients the  resources they need to grow their businesses. We’ve celebrated many successes  with our clients. We'd love to celebrate your success. 

Topics: Professional Development, Small Business, Solopreneurship, Growing a Business

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