16 Reasons to Be Independent


16 Reasons to Be Independent

Self-employment is the essence of American independence. Think about it: Benjamin Franklin. Thomas Jefferson. Paul Revere. From the earliest days of this nation’s history, it has been the entrepreneurs, inventors, and “self-made” craftsmen who have defined the spirit of American independence and ingenuity. With over 80 million small businesses operating across the country today, it’s clear that even through some tough times, this spirit is alive and well.

So this Fourth of July, NASE offers 16 reasons to celebrate the freedom of your independent business — and what you contribute to the fabric of the economy, culture, and the community you serve.

1.   Small businesses are unique
Simply put, you take the wheel when you’re working for yourself. No one tells you where to go or how to get there. It’s all you.

When you’re self-employed, you get to create your own brand from the ground up. Your business is about you, not corporate homogenization. A small business owner has the freedom to customize and define their product and services, logo and name, ethos and market from day one.

2.   Independent businesses are innovative
Innovation happens in the realm of start-ups, entrepreneurial investment, and small businesses. New companies and self-employed individuals often launch to serve a gap in the market. They go where bigger businesses haven’t, won’t, or can’t.

Whether it’s technology, the environment, agriculture, or health, small businesses have been trailblazers in innovative directions. The big companies follow and the whole world shifts on the initiative of the visionary decisions of small business leaders.

3.   Small businesses are niche
Celebrate your smallness! Big businesses leave a lot of room for specialists to flourish in niche markets. By honing in on specialized areas of need, small businesses can build customer bases that are both loyal and willing to pay more for the deliverables only you can provide.

4.   Independent businesses offer customer choice
Small businesses are a whole universe beyond the box stores and big conglomerates. Whether it’s a handcrafted product or expert advice, customers look to small businesses to deliver next-level work.

Even if there are other businesses out there providing your service, you can offer your own way of doing things at a different price point that will make you stand out from the crowd.

5.   Small business owners are responsive
Forget the robocalls and “press pound for more options” approach to customer service. Small businesses foster and cherish genuine customer engagement. They recognize the value of customer loyalty, and enjoy its rewards in the form of word-of-mouth recommendations and return business.

Customer engagement and familiarity carries over into social media, email, and good old fashioned phone calls as well. It’s much easier for a small business owner to get a customer (or potential customer) on the line for a casual chat than it is for a big company.

The one-on-one connection is doubly important vice-versa: You’re there on the other end of the phone when a customer needs you. No call center required.

6.   Small businesses are success stories
Real people, relationships, and struggles are a cornerstone of marketing for small businesses in the form of telling the story of your brand.

Customers want to know how you got started, what challenges you’ve overcome, and what problems you solve in their lives. (Nobody asks General Electric or T-Mobile questions like that!) Small businesses are naturally relatable because you really are just like your customers.

7.   Small businesses are the heart of a community
Independent businesses are woven into the fabric of any vibrant downtown, any thriving neighborhood. It’s obvious in the look of the storefronts: variety, local color and flavor, individuality and customized products.

But the ties of small businesses go deeper than surface appearance. Independent establishments aren’t just shops, products, and business transactions.

They’re also relationships between people. Many businesses are family affairs, deeply tied to the communities they serve.

Small businesses are an integral part of a community, which is what makes closures so devastating. Communities increasingly recognize this, rallying around small businesses through shop-local preferences and downtown revitalization initiatives. These values reflect the importance of independent and self-owned companies in the lives of your customers.

8.   Independent businesses are flexible
A change in the direction of the wind can drag a big ship off course, but a small boat can adjust sails quickly.

It’s never easy to weather a storm, but as the captain of your own vessel, you are capable of making nimble moves in changing economic conditions. Small business owners are closer to the lives of their customers, making them more sensitive to changing needs than the remote corporate headquarters of large corporations.

9.   Independent businesses are lean
Starting a new business is like planting a flower from seed into a generous expanse of soil. As it grows, your plant’s roots can spread at their own pace. That’s easier than trying to transplant the unwieldy root system of an established plant into new soil — and the same is true for big companies trying to transplant into new markets.

10. Small businesses are mobile
With a small business, it’s easier than ever to change location. A small operation means you have a much bigger choice in terms of rental space or real estate. It also means you can work from home, operate as a mobile business that brings the services to customers, or do your work from computers and phones anywhere.

11. Self-employed workers are bold
It’s easier to take risks when you’re an army of one (or ten, or twenty). Small businesses can test new products with a smaller investment and see the response more quickly and easily than a big corporation can. You see a market and an opportunity — and you step up.

It’s no wonder that large corporations sometimes test out new products by creating LLCs; the guise of a small business allows big companies the anonymity to take risks and weather potential flops more easily.

12. Independent businesses are fresh starts
Total freedom from outdated ways of doing things. Whereas a big, established company may adhere to a rigid, legacy business model, the new small business starts fresh.

Self-employment means the freedom to experiment with more efficient and creative operational ideas. Don’t like cubicles? Break out of the box.

13. Small businesses are financially rewarding
Bold risks and hard work can pay off for a small business owner in ways that may only translate into a small raise or promotion in a salaried position. Self-employment offers the chance to make more money, and that’s a strong incentive to do all the hard work entailed in a small business.

14. Small businesses are personally rewarding
Building your own company or independent business means you get to pursue your passion, putting all your skills and creative energy to good use.

Think of the millions of people who burn through years of their lives doing jobs they hate because they need a paycheck. Although building a business of your own is a tremendous amount of work, and the payoff may not come immediately, it’s all labor for your own dream. That’s a powerful motivator.

15. Independent workers are always learning
The more your business grows, the more your knowledge and skills grow. You’re involved in every single aspect of building your business, making every day a learning opportunity. In fact, the expansion of your business is limited only by your imagination. With your own schedule, you can prioritize learning, including earning credentials and a formal degree in your field. It’s completely up to you what to study and master.

16. Self-employed workers are FREE
Perhaps the biggest allure of starting a small business is the thought that you can “be your own boss.” Finally, no one can tell you what to do, no one can take credit for your great ideas, and no one can fire you!

Take a day off when you need it, work when it’s most convenient for your family, and the rest of your life. Self-employment means finally becoming the master of that elusive “work-life balance.” With a small business, you take charge of your own destiny.

It doesn’t get much more American than that.

Courtesy of NASE.org