A Small Businessman’s Definition of Success

Steve Ganns, https://gannsblog.wordpress.com/, discusses the importance of balancing work life and personal life. In 1983, I became a partner in a small CPA firm in New York. In 1987, I took over that firm and have been running that business for 27 years. I’m not the ultimate expert, but I feel I have enough experience to have a good perspective on what it means to be a successful small business person.

Many small business people would now start telling you about how you have to watch costs, maximize revenues, etc. But this small business person thinks there is something else that also defines success.

Take Vacations

If there is one piece of advice I can give to small business owners, it would be: do not become so busy that you fail to take time off. On any given day, I can always find one more thing to do in my business, but to do so makes me stale when it’s time to be fresh. A burned out business owner does not project a successful image when being interviewed by potential clients.

Have a Hobby

Do something outside of your business that entertains you or makes you happy. Again, for the reasons outlined above, to be a successful small entrepreneur one must be as fresh as possible when it’s time to work. Believe me, when running a small business, there’s plenty of time to work. A dedicated small business person will always be able to find one more thing to do. The trick is to be able to find one more thing to do that is not work related from time to time. This healthy balance, in the long run, will make you more successful AT work.

Decide What Lifestyle You Want

Let’s say your business makes $200,000 a year. Perhaps you could make $400,000, but in making that amount, you have to work 90 hours a week every week with no end in sight. Some might do it, but it must be a choice in order to be successful. Making $400,000 and being miserable in the process is not success. Success is defined in many ways and is different for all.

To me, in a small business, as in all of life, success should not only be measured by the amount of money you make, but by the enjoyment you get from whatever you do, along with the amount of compensation you get for doing it.

Just to reiterate, this little blog is to remind all of us small business people that relationships with:

  • Ourselves
  • Our family
  • Our friends
  • Our hobbies
  • Our spirituality

are goals to be driven at just as hard, if not harder, as the amount of money we want to make with our small business.

Trying to be balanced is this small business entrepreneur’s way of defining success, and it has served me well in the 27 years I have owned my own business.


Stephen J. Ganns

Stephen J. Ganns, CPA


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