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7 Things Only Owners Understand

Dec. 3, 2021
Here are seven things people who have never owned a business can never truly fathom about business ownership.

You run a plumbing company. This gives you admittance to a special club. This is the club of business owners. Unless you have been there, you cannot truly comprehend the pressures of business ownership. Describing it is not the same thing as experiencing it. Here are seven things people who have never owned a business can never truly fathom about business ownership.

1. The Risk

Business ownership carries risk. It’s not just the risk of financial ruin if the business fails, there’s an emotional risk as well. Business failure is emotional ruin. When you own a business, you are putting it all on the line. If you succeed, everyone has their hand out for a piece of the action, starting with the government. If you fail, no one will help.

2. The Fear

Most people think businesspeople are motivated purely by the pursuit of profit, which they consider a slur. Honestly, fear motivates as much or more than profit. Even when profit comes, fear lurks in the back of the mind. Victories may be celebrated, but they are also moments of relief.  

3. The Responsibility

Inherent in business ownership is responsibility. The head of a household feels responsible for a family. The head of a business is responsible for all the families depending on a company paycheck. There is responsibility to customers to deliver on promises. There is responsibility to creditors to pay debts. If there are outside investors, there is a responsibility to them to provide a return on their investment. Finally, the is a responsibility to the community.

The business owner shoulders all of these responsibilities and typically puts them in front of his own family. This is why business owners sometimes go without pay during lean times. The responsibility of a business can be a heavy burden.

4. The Loneliness

The saying, “It’s lonely at the top” reflects truth. While the owner may confer with key people in the organization and may confide with outsiders, the owner is largely alone. No one can carry his burdens for him. When faced with a tough decision, it is the owner who must make the ultimate call.

5. The Uncertainty

Unless they are serial entrepreneurs, business owners face uncertainty every step of the way. They are doing things they have never done before. They are often faced with situations where they do not know the answer, only that standing still is not it. When the course is not clear, every choice adds to the risk the owner faces.

Joining an industry business alliance is one of the ways business owners deal with the uncertainty and fight the loneliness. There is comfort in spending time with other business owners who understand your challenges. There is wisdom to be gained from listening to those who have faced and persevered through similar challenges and can offer insightful counsel.

6. The Time Constraints

When you own a business, there is never enough time. It seems that everyone wants a piece of the business owner. In an effort to get things done, too many business owners neglect their own health, wellbeing, and development. It is counter-intuitive, but true that taking time out for exercise and for self-development—no matter how busy and stressed—results in more time. Exercise makes the business owner more effective. Self-development expands the range of possibilities.

Business owners need to maintain their own health. They need to attend conferences and seminars for their own development. They need to read. Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “Five years from today, you will be the same person that you are today, except for the books you read and the people you meet.”

7. The Pride

It is impossible for the childless to understand what it is like to see part of yourself in your children and to understand the pride that comes from watching them grow into successful, competent adults who are their own people. Similarly, it is impossible to understand the pride that comes from creating a business from nothing that becomes a viable, successful entity that serves the public and supports its team.

When you watch your children grow into adulthood and make their own way in the world, the pride and joy you feel overwhelms the memories of the challenges you overcame as a parent. It is the same when you build a business that can run without you. All of the risk, fear, responsibility, loneliness, uncertainty, and time constraints fade in comparison, and you conclude that yes, it was worth the effort.

Running a plumbing company is hard enough. Make it easier and simpler by taking advantage of the Service Roundtable’s offerings. Rebates from the Roundtable Rewards buying group, which is included in your membership, usually cover more than the cost of membership. It was launched 20 years ago for $50 a month and it’s still just $50 a month. Learn more at or call 877/262-3341 for a free peek behind the paywall.

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