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Being a small business owner in the United States is hard work. No matter what comes your way, you and your employees are all you have.
Some factors are beyond your control and can make the brass ring harder to grab. The 2017 Allstate/USA TODAY Small Business Barometer, a study that combines federal data with a national survey of nearly 2,800 small-business owners, finds that the ease with which small business owners can get the commodities they need has gone down considerably since the 2016 Barometer release. Meanwhile, unemployment continues to fall, which means more people are finding jobs — a good thing for the economy, but also a reason hiring good staff may be a challenge right now.
Despite these headwinds, the nation’s small business owners are incredibly optimistic about the future, with a nationwide optimism score of 92 out of 100 on the Allstate/USA TODAY Barometer. Seattle is not far behind with a score of 88.
So, what’s the secret to small business success? Seattle entrepreneur Paul Vogel, 48, owner of an Allstate Insurance agency with offices in the University District, says small business owners improve their chances when they do a combination of these five things:
Vogel emphasizes that a successful small business is not just measured in company earnings, number of loyal customers, and name recognition. It’s also measured by the quality of life you and your employees enjoy.
“When I started my career, I never thought I’d employ a half dozen people, like I do now,” Vogel said. “I want my company to succeed so I can give the people who work for me the ability to buy homes and have families and, in addition, have flexibility to enjoy time with their families — as though the people who work with me were also self-employed.”
Thunderbird School of Global Management Alumna Dana Manciagli '84 is the author of "Cut the crap, Get a job". With her 'Career Mojo' column, Dana is the sole syndicated career columnist for the Business Journal nationwide. Her remarkable profile includes a career in global sales and marketing for Fortune 500 corporations like Microsoft, IBM, and Kodak. She has coached, interviewed and hired thousands of job seekers. This article was originally published on her website.