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Defining a Small Business…………….

How small is small? In my opinion defining a small business owner starts with anyone whoworks on a commission basis. Thus people such as real estate agents, insurance agents, stock brokers, etc, all are running small businesses.  The basic problem is that most of these industries only teach their commission sales people about their products and how to best describe them to a prospect. They are given very little training on business planning, marketing, personal and business finance or any other aspect of running a small business. They thus, join the rest of the “small businesses” that experience a failure rate of over 85% in the first five years.

I have been told that some of these “industries” (I can’t call them professions due to lack of proper survival education) tell their new salespeople to call all their friends and relatives and try to sell them their products/services and then start cold calling.

A second definition of a small business is one that has the potential to hire employees. How much better would our unemployment situation be in our country if more small businesses succeeded? Why do we have such a high failure rate under both definitions of small business?

The answer is simple; we offer no real world education. What is even worse, our media portrays success as someone who started a small business in the garage (Apple computers) and went on to achieve monumental success. The only education was through the “school of hard knocks”.

Neither our high schools nor our colleges and universities, offer any real world business education. Many of the instructors have” book learning” without any hands on experience. What they teach is what they learned from textbooks. There are some exceptions.  For example the medical field. My nephew had 5 years of practical experience after graduation from medical school to obtain his MD and specialty degree.

Since our current educational system does not offer “real business courses”,  and most of the small business owners (and commission sales people) don’t know the value of business support/education, we will continue our “failing ways”.

There are those of us who offer “one on one” business training through our coaching process and business planning. My work book, Seven weeks to increased profits, offers a systematic approach to growing a small business, but it does not offer instant gratification after completing the first day’s assignment. It requires discipline to complete the full seven week course.

Perhaps a new type of business school is needed; one which does not require pre-requisite courses, but concentrates on offering practical, inexpensive classes at times when working small business owners can attend.

Support has to be accepted in order to be beneficial.                                        Nick J. Petra CFP

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