Shocked: Small Business Owners Have No Idea Where They Will be in Five Years

According to the Staples Small Business Owner Success survey, 63 percent of small business owners do not have a five-year business plan. So when you ask small business owners where they will be in five years, the collective answer is, “I don’t know.” That is the same answer school kids give when you ask about their day. When you ask about the red or blue tie with a shirt (and even that answer would be more decisive).

According to a Small Business Administration report, just about half of all new small business survive five years or more.

And…I think I know a few reasons why.

We want to make more happen every day, do more every day, make one more customer happy every day and cross one more item off of our to-do list every day. But sometimes, this focus on the every day is not making us not see the big picture. Frankly, we don’t have time to even look at the big picture. What big picture?

When I look at other stats from the Staples survey – small business owners like me have a full plate. One in five want to get their social media up and going. One in 10 want to manage their inventory better. This fall there’s a focus on driving more business through marketing and advertising (28%) and cash flow management (26%). Over half of the small business owners are actually planning a fall clean up. And over half are already gearing up for the holiday season ahead.

Ninety-six percent of the owners that responded in this survey are involved in the buying decision of their products.  And the small business owners want a better and smarter way to do this. Three-fourths agree with the statement “I’m looking for a one-stop shopping place to purchase the products my need for my business” (which is way someplace like Staples can be a smart bet… 1,000,000 products and counting on Staples.com, which I had no idea)

But, I want to CHALLENGE you to think beyond the day to day. Yes we have bills to pay. Yes we suffer through meetings that run too long and a cup of coffee that’s just too short (and too fattening). Yes we have that one Facebook post to write and that one marketing piece that still needs to be tweaked and approved.

But we need to focus on the big picture and find that quiet time to do so. Surround ourselves with  smart people that will push us forward by asking, “Hey boss, what’s next?” My challenge to you – ask what’s next and how are you going to get there. Not just next week or next year.  How about five years from now?

Check out the Staples Small Business Center with tips, deals and products to help make more happen at your small business every day.

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