At this point, I’m sure that most of those people who frequent my blog know that I own a small website design and maintenance firm called Usable Web Solutions, LLC. The company just turned three years old last month and after owning my own small business since January 2006, I’ve realized that there are a few aggravations that come along with the job. Here are a few of them, for your reading pleasure.
- Pay Your Bill On Time. The biggest aggravation that any small business owner runs into is usually related to finances. To be frank, there are a bunch of customers who just don’t pay their bills. Then, as a small business owner, you’re wedged between a rock and a hard place. Do you charge a late fee and risk aggravating the client or do you stick to the terms of your contract? I say for habitual offenders, you have to charge the late fee. But folks, if you’re working with a small business – pay your damn invoices on time.
- Not Showing Up To Meetings. In truth, this particular point is what drove me to write this post today (and I’m writing this on Friday, the day before it’ll be on the blog). I was supposed to have a meeting with a new client at 1:00pm today – he didn’t show. This has happened on a few occasions with other potential clients. If people want to know why some small business owners stay away from random inquiries, this is the reason. No one has time in their day to go to a meeting place, sit around for half an hour, and then leave. It’s insulting and probably crosses you off of that small business’ list of future clients.
- I’m Not Your Tech Guy. My company designs and maintains websites. Nothing gets me aggravated more than when my clients call me and expect me to be able to fix the viruses on their computer. Look – you’re the idiot who either ran over to a porn site or actually clicked a link in the spam e-mail. Besides, my contract is to provide you with website services – not to be your tech guy!
- You’re Not My Website Company. On a related note, I often get bothered by people who want to plug their limited online expertise into the services that my company performs. I’ll train my clients to work with their websites, but I don’t need you telling me how to do my job. At the same time, I absolutely hate it when small clients (nonprofits or small companies like my own) want websites that are as expansive as organizations 100 times their size. Part of my company’s purpose is to provide an online business for small companies and nonprofits – if you have plans on world domination, that’s fine. Using my company as a stepping stone in your plans.
- Your Projects Are Different. Related to the previous point is this one, which comes up more than you would think. I often have clients who do one site with me, love my prices and my services, and then want to come back for another site or two. That’s fine – that’s actually great and it means that I’m doing my job. But when I create a small website for your small company and charge you a small fee, don’t think that when you come back with your website that is going to “rival YouTube” that I’m going to do it for beans. Frankly, I’m not going to do it because this company is my side gig and I’m really only in it to help the small guys out and earn a small profit on the side. I’m not interested in fighting the man or creating a better online profile site than Facebook or MySpace – and if I was, then you’d better damn well be ready to pony up the tens of thousands of dollars it would take to get started on that type of project!
Those are only a few of the aggravations of owning a small business. I post these here mainly for your amusement, but you never know – someone might Google this page one day and get something out of it!