What Small Business Owners Dream About

People who own small businesses have a different set of priorities than people who work for wages. Owners of small and start-up enterprises put their own assets on the line. In addition to working a full-time, 40-hour work week or longer, company owners have financial “skin in the game” and thus have a different perspective on life, the economy and much else.

What exactly do these entrepreneurs dream about? Put more practically, what does the average owner of a small firm value the most? Several recent surveys help explain the inner-workings of the entrepreneurial mind. One such formal query asked, “As a company owner, what is your most valuable asset, be it tangible or intangible?” The answers are surprising and go a long way toward revealing the dreams, desires and values of those who venture out into a competitive economy. In no particular order, the following “assets” were named by the greatest number of business owners as being the “most valuable or useful” asset in their possession:

A Partner

It makes logical sense that business owners would name their partners as key assets. In many small firms, from medical groups to law firms, founders choose partners based upon complementary skill sets. Engineers often team up with CPAs, marketing specialists with financial experts, and tax planners with estate lawyers. It’s the dynamic of well-paired skills that gives many small firms their unique market advantage and propels them to long-term success. It’s no wonder that many owners respond by saying, “My partner,” when asked what their most prized asset is.

Uncomplicated Tax Software

Taxes are almost universally feared or disliked, depending how survey responses are interpreted. That might be the reasons so many people place a high value on tax software that can help sole proprietors and others figure their taxes without having to have degrees in mathematics or computer programming. For example, going to is the top choice among owners of small firms who need to produce tax documents on a quarterly basis, a common challenge for new firms. Most individuals who are new to owner companies have not a clue about the ins and outs of quarterly filing. TurboTax and a few other software packages are bundled affairs that allow entrepreneurs to do short- or long-range planning, file quarterly or annual returns seamlessly, and offer built-in audit functionality that has an uncanny ability to ferret out potential red flags and problem areas.

A Home Office

It’s a fact that many startups operate on a shoestring budget. Maybe that’s why about half of all new owners work out of their own homes and say their “home office” is their most valued asset. Not only does a home-based business save on rent, even the IRS pitches in by allowing a decent-sized tax deduction for use of a home office on business returns. Eventually, most owners grow out of their home bases, but the amount of money they can save in those early, lean days of growth make a huge difference. There’s a lot to be said for an “asset” that consists of what used to be an unused bedroom that’s now equipped with high-speed internet, a mini-frig and a dual-screen computer setup.

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