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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

A Day in the Life of a Small Business Owner: The Secret to Success

Zane Benefits is committed to helping small business owners all over the U.S. by finding new ways to help you run your companies more effectively.

Because we know how important shared knowledge and advice amongst small business owners is, we go out into the community to bring you real stories from local business owners. In this week’s small business owner interview, I had the pleasure of talking with Mike Burton, owner of Majestic Payroll Services, to share his challenges, joys, and advice about owning a small business.

Mike’s Story

Like many small business owners, Mike’s business started off in very humble circumstances. In fact, MikeSmall_business_owner_secret_to_success_mike_burton started Majestic Payroll Services from his own bedroom. He says, “It was the shortest commute I’ve ever had.”

While starting Majestic Payroll Services, Mike was doing some side work to build up his client pool. Just a few years later, Mike was able to rent an office space and, with time, he was able to purchase an office which he could sublease to other small business owners. Mike recently bought a second office to expand his business.

Though Mike started his small business solo and did any kind of jobs he could find, he has been able to grow into a well-established small business in his community with 9 employees and growing.

The Rewards of Owning a Small Business

As Mike and I were talking about the various rewards of being a small business owner, he said “I think being able to be in charge and make the decisions that I feel are for the well-being of my employees and clients really make it all worth it.”

And though Mike agrees that being a small business owner doesn’t mean you have all the time in the world, he says, “It’s nice to have flexibility. Rather than going into a job where I might be told I cannot attend my children’s various milestones, I can make my family and my employees’ families lives a priority.”

Related: 10 Simple Ways to Help Employees to Find Work-Life Balance

Mike’s focus on family lead me to ask him why he started his business. He responded by saying, “You know, I believe fully in honesty. And in order for me to feel I was working in a business with honest dealings, I had to be able to start my own. Not because other businesses aren’t honest, but because if I was the one overseeing things, I knew I could make honesty a top priority.”

Mike’s honesty has earned him a reputation for being respected and well known in his community.

Challenges

Of course, no small business owner is immune to challenges, and Mike said that he often worried about finances.

Mike wanted to be sure his small business was making enough to support his family, his business, and his employees. And although there were times where he wasn’t entirely sure if everything would work out, it always did. Mike attributes this to his core value of honesty.

When I asked Mike what other challenges he has come across over the years, he remarked “There have been larger companies that have attempted to shut my business down in various ways. They’ve tried to make it difficult to stay in business. But, we stood together, continued to work our hardest, and here we are today.”

Another challenge Mike has faced is hiring. “It’s difficult to instill in an employee your passion and love for the business and clients,” he said. “I often find myself wondering how I can do this to ensure our clients are all treated equally. When I hire, I have to remember this and look for employees who will treat each client as I would.”

Related: How to Hire Right the First Time

The last challenge Mike and I spoke about was whether or not offering health insurance was difficult for him. He replied by saying, “I actually do not offer health insurance. It’s too expensive. Instead, I pay my employees a little more so they can use it on health insurance." This approach gives Mike cost control, and provides a flexible health benefit for his employees. "So far, they’ve been okay with it. Most of my staff are women so it’s common for them to have health insurance through their spouse’s employer,” Mike said. 

Advice

Before closing my time with Mike, I asked him what advice he has for other small business owners or entrepreneurs who are looking into starting their own business. Mike gladly gave his advice saying, “As a small business owner, it’s important to make sure that whatever you’re going to sell is in demand and that it’s a good product. You have to be able to make a profit somehow.”

Mike added, “In order to really be successful, you will need a competitive edge. You’ll need something that helps you stand out among other businesses like yours.”

Related: Why Small Businesses Fail - How to Stay Competitive and Succeed

Lastly, before our conversation came to a close, Mike further expanded on his advice by saying that his secret to success is: “If you decide to make others’ day a better one, in any way possible, even if it’s not related to your business, they’ll always come back. People like to feel good and cared for.”

Mike has enjoyed years of success by living by his philosophy. And though nothing is ever perfect, he is consistently optimistic and looks forward to a bright future for Majestic Payroll Services, the community he serves, and his employees.

Key Takeaways from Mike’s Interview

  • Make you and your employees’ lives outside of work a priority - be flexible.

  • Hire employees who will convey your same passion and love for the business.

  • The secret to success: be honest and make someone's day better, every day.

What questions do you have about my interview with Mike? Comment below.

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