So you've launched your online store and within the first ten minutes you get so much traffic the website crashes. Sweetie, you are giving Kim K. a run for her money, because you have officially broken the internet. Everyone you know is buying your products and you are filthy stinking rich! WRONG WRONG WRONG! Before you enter the world of e-commerce allow me to present you with three small business owner reality checks.This is not a guide to solve the problems, because in my Kanye West rant "You aint got the answers Sway" These are the frustrations I have personally encountered and I m still trying to overcome
REALITY CHECK #1 Your site is Googleable (No, that's not a word)
Just because you have created a beautiful online store does not mean anyone knows about it. In fact no one knows about it. You have created a Facebook Page an Instagram AND a Pinterest, all dedicated to your amazing business, and boy are you striking out. No hits. You type your business name in google and its not even on the first ten pages. You are not googleable. There are these things called metatags and SEO and all these algorithms that you have yet to master. So what do you do? You go on Facebook and you pay to boost the post. That can be exciting.You target an audience and people start liking your page. SCORE! Right? Well you are accumulating likes but that doesn't immediately translate into sales. Yes, you are growing your fan base on your Facebook but the new algorithm doesn't guarantee your fans will ever see your awesome post.
REALITY CHECK #2 Your Friends are Your Biggest Supporters
They're not. I have found my greatest support has come from other small business owners, like minded individuals that understand the struggle. Don't get me wrong, a few of your friends will be wonderful fans. They will share your post, they will buy your products, and they will encourage you. But many of them will not. Your friends that do not support you fall into three categories.
Doubters: These are your friends that do not believe in your products, particularly if you make them yourself. They hold them in between their index finger and thumb as they inspect them. Look them over as if something is wrong with them, because they were not made in a factory, that adds tons of chemicals and filler so they must not be legitimate. Little do they know, your product is of a higher quality.
Enviers: These are your frenemies. It is likely that this is not the first time they have been jealous of you, so don't be surprised. You are making things happen, you have a plan and you are setting it in action and they are so jealous. They will not share your post, like your pics or buy your products. They will however accept free goods and services.
That brings me to our next friend
Opportunists: I find them particularly annoying. These are your friends that watch you be great and they believe in you. They believe in you so much so that they want in. If you look closely you can see their wheels turning. How can they get a piece of your greatness. Not support you but get a piece of the credit and the money (lol there is no money). They have nothing to contribute but will say things like "do you need a partner?" They will tell you what your business needs but have no talent (that's harsh), no business and no business experience, just tons of advice. The Opportunist does not spend a dime with your company. They want free products, but for you the small business owner, nothing is free. You have paid for those goods with your money or your time or both and the Opportunist seeks to rob you.
REALITY CHECK #3 You're Rich
Hopefully one day you will be rich but this is a start up and honey you are broke. A day job may be how you finance your lifestyle as well as your new business. When you are passionate, everything earned from the business and then some goes back into building your empire. Many people assume because you are a business owner that you have money to blow. This is completely inaccurate, you are constantly trying to figure out how to increase your bottom line but in the meantime you have to pay for goods and services in order to maintain your business. Nothing is free. This is why I find the Opportunist particularly annoying.
Being a small business owner can be very rewarding but there are personal as well as professional lessons that can only be learned through experience.
What have been some of your personal small business reality checks? Chime in in the comments below!