It’s time to overcome these 3 common small business myths

06/03/2019

Open for business sign hangs in window of shop

Open for business sign hangs in window of shop

Small business is bigger than you think. In many ways, the internet and social media have welcomed a new age of entrepreneurship. It’s easier than ever to start a business on an international scale, even from the comfort of your own home. Yet, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still rampant myths and misconceptions.

Today, over half of all Americans either work for a small business or own one themselves. Still, many small businesses continue to fail every year and even more fail to even make it off the ground in the first place. Despite more tech tools and trade agreements breaking barriers between countries and the global trade professionals within them, there is still a lot to learn about the realities of small business today.

In this article, we’ll shed some truth on what it means to own a small business in this global economy.

Myth 1: Only large companies succeed internationally

The biggest and most persistent myth in small business is that international trade is best left to the biggest players. Big-name businesses set the rules, and the smaller players can’t even get off the bench, right? Wrong. In fact, since 2006, the number of small business exporters is up 24.3% according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

While it’s true there are challenges to selling services and products abroad, these are not insurmountable. New trade agreements make it easier for international trade to take place between small and mid-sized businesses, and this means expanding profits from the ground up.

Today, more than 70% of the world population’s purchasing power is outside of America. If you want to scale your organization’s profits, you need to scale your research and your market entry strategy.

It’s time to shed the myth that only large companies succeed on an international scale, since this is simply untrue.

We live in an increasingly global world, and it’s time for a new era of global small businesses to match.

Myth 2: Health insurance is challenging

One of the most pervasive myths in the United States in particular is that health insurance is too tricky for small businesses. This is especially true for businesses that conduct work internationally, perhaps hiring employees abroad on a remote basis. As a small business, it’s hard to balance this amongst your other expenses. Can you even afford the expense of health insurance, and is it worth all of the trouble?

In short, yes you can afford it and yes it’s worth the trouble. If you have over 50 American-based employees full-time, you’re required to provide insurance thanks to the employer mandate. Offering insurance is an effective way to boost employee morale, appeal to talented job seekers and build a positive work environment with healthy workers. Not to mention, you need health insurance yourself to guarantee you’re equipped to keep working years into the future.

Not sure where to start your search? Using licensed insurance agents with experience in business health insurance is be a great place to begin. These professionals can lead you down the right path in terms of finding a plan that’s right for your employees, budget, and scalability needs.

Myth 3: Being first is always best

With small businesses, there’s a common belief that you need to always be first to the market to succeed. While it’s true that being first with a new product or service has its advantages, don’t make the mistake of thinking this is always the most effective strategy.

In reality, improving upon a product or service that already exists in the market, or offering a similar product or service at a lower price, is usually the most successful avenue.

What exactly does this mean? Let’s take a well-known example for a ride. While Netflix might have been the first business to offer streaming services on an international scale, they mainly left this system as-is. Their competitor Hulu, however, stepped in with a similar service but advanced features like live TV, local channels, and more. Hulu is also priced at $5.99 USD per month, as opposed to $8.99 USD per month like Netflix. As a result, Hulu grew its subscriber base by 8 million people in the U.S. in 2018, compared to growth of 1.1 million people in the U.S. by Netflix during that same time.

Don’t let the myths hold you back from small business success

It’s time to break free from the many misconceptions that surround small businesses in international markets. Don’t let the fear of competition with the big players keep you from trying in the first place. Small businesses, in fact, have many advantages over the bigger ones.

First, they’re better equipped to reach their audience more effectively, since they operate on a smaller scale. Next, they can more successfully address employee needs by investing in key things like health insurance. Finally, they’re in a position to innovate with new technology through their products or services.

Let’s defeat these myths once and for all. Small business is big business, and it’s time to prove it once and for all with your own goals.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributing author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forum for International Trade Training.

About the author

Ashley Lipman

Author: Ashley Lipman

Ashley is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.

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