Do you have any idea as to what happened to the men who signed the Declaration of Independence?  By signing this document these men risked their lives, their livelihood and the very lives of their families.  Here is what one writer says happened to them:

5 were captured, tortured and killed by the British

12 had their homes burned to the ground

2 lost their sons in the war

2 of them had their sons captured during the war

9 fought in the war and died from their wounds and/or hardships from the war

1 was a wealthy plantation owner and ship owner.  The British Navy destroyed his ships – he died broke and in rags

1 constantly had to move his family.  He served in Congress for FREE…..he died in poverty

8 had their homes ransacked and their possessions stolen during the war

1 saw his wife arrested and she died 4 months later in prison

1 watched as his home was destroyed by American gun fire because the British were using his home as their headquarters.

Who were these men?  Well 24 were lawyers and jurists, 11 were merchants and 9 were farmers and plantation owners.

Can you imagine today’s Congress working for free?  Can you imagine attorneys today risking their lives for the freedom of others?  I am sure there are some out there, but like the original signers they would be the exception and not the rule.

Enough of my soap box……

How does the above relate to Small Business Owners?  

If you are a small business owner, you can quickly begin to feel like one of those signers of the Declaration of Independence.  Many times, you and/or your partner are all alone trying to accomplish the amazing feat of starting a business from scratch.  You are going to have or have had feelings of isolation and loneliness.  You have risked it all to make your dream of being an entrepreneur come true.  You are a needed commodity.  Not many men or women are willing to risk it all to chase their dream.  While we don’t risk our very lives to start our companies, we do risk our very livelihood.

Just like there was no exact playbook when this country was formed, there is no exact playbook for you to start your own business.  There are people who can provide guidance and can help you with planning and strategy, but in the end the decisions are yours to make and the success or failure of your company ultimately falls to you.  The good news is that this country was built on the backs of small business owners.

This country had a lot of things go its way during its fight for independence.  As small business owners, we need a few of those breaks to go our way as well.  We can plan, we can raise the capital, we can hire the best people but we are still going to need a few breaks here and there.  Those breaks come to us when we dig in, work hard, stay ahead of the learning curve in our industries and are not afraid to change direction as needed. As small business owners, we can’t be hard headed about our future.  We have to have a willingness to maneuver and change directions.  I remember in the automotive industry when a general manager told me the internet was just a fad.  He didn’t last long.  Listen to your customers and to your team around you.  You are ultimately responsible for your success or failure but there are many resources available to you in aiding you in your journey.