Are You an Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner?

Do you want to be an Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner? Is there a difference, and does it matter?

There is a difference, and it’s easy to confuse the two or use the two terms interchangeably. A Small Business Owner owns their own business, but also actively participates in that business. Often the Small Business Owner is critical to the ongoing success of the company. Without him or her, the business either does not exist (i.e. medical, legal, accounting, consulting, freelancing) or would suffer greatly in the owner’s absence for any period of time.

We often use the term “Solopreneur” to refer to the individual practitioner who is their own boss but must personally deliver a service or create a product for their business to generate revenue. While this may certainly be better than working for someone else, it’s still about trading time for money – and time is our most limited resource.

Whether you are a Solopreneur or a Small Business Owner, you likely own a business that depends primarily on you. Perhaps the business is run by you and a couple of other founders. The point is, only a few people know and can execute on the secret recipe at the foundation of your business. And those key people must be present for the business to operate. An Entrepreneur instead builds a business and supporting systems that are independent from the founder. The founder may well be an integral (or exclusive) part of the businesses initially, but the goal is always to grow the business to the point where the owner does not have to be involved in day-to-day operations. When you build a business that continues to generate revenues in your absence, then you have created a truly leveraged model and can call yourself an Entrepreneur.

Many of us start as Small Business Owners, enjoy success, and grow our companies. We may then move on to creating a larger business that does not require us to be present, and we graduate to the level of Entrepreneurship. If we repeat this multiple times, then we may call ourselves Serial Entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”
Howard Stevenson, Harvard Business School Professor.

You may not be clear at the start as to which one you want to grow up to be, an Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner. But by asking yourself a series of hard questions, and honestly assessing your true desires, you are more likely to start a business that suits you best. And it’s certainly acceptable if you want to be Small Business Owner… we are not saying that’s a bad thing. But it’s important for you to begin understanding the difference between the two as it may impact the type of business you build and how you plan to develop it.

It’s also important to avoid creating another low-paying harder-working “job”, like the one you may already have! Michael Gerber explains this situation best in his seminal book “The E-Myth”. This book is a must read for small business owners, with one of its major themes being the difference between working “in” your business (you make the pies) versus working “on” your business (others make the pies following your recipe and systems).

As you prepare to become your own boss, or if you have already started a small business, it’s important to keep your long-term vision in mind. Doing so will help you determine the type of business you start and build, helping ensure that you achieve your definition of success.

Do you want to be an Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner? Here are some questions to ask to help you determine want you really want:

  1. Do you want to own just one or two locations (i.e. one or two franchise units, or your own practice) or do you want to create something bigger with multiple locations and perhaps grow internationally (i.e. offer franchises and hire others to run the business)?
  2. Do you want to work in the business (i.e. make the donuts) or do you want to have someone else manage the day-to-day operations (i.e. someone else makes the donuts following your instructions)?

  3. Are you looking for a job or are you looking to create a self-managing company (a business that does not rely on your day-to-day presence for success)?
  4. Do you prefer to create or do you enjoy executing?
  5. Do you envision creating multiple different businesses across multiple industries?
  6. Are you able to let go of all of the details, or are you a micro-manager?
  7. Are you the only person who can deliver your service or product, or can you teach others how to do it?
  8. Is your goal to work hard until a certain age and then retire, or continue creating and leading your businesses until you are no longer mentally capable?
  9. Can you sell your business as it currently operates and without you having to continue being part of it?

Hiking The Yellow Mountain Trail

This light trail alone can only take a3.6-mile hike, however you may combine this with Mill Shoals Trail through an access point at the Cooper Creek Trail which makes it a 6-mile hike. It starts at 300 yards south of the Cooper Creek Recreation Area on FR 236 within the Lumpkin and Union County. The trail head is at the north end of the parking area and begins an easy climb to the Yellow Mountain where some stunning views await each and every hiker. Regular training exercises are also done here so check with the Camp Frank D. Merrill in Dahlonega to see its schedule of activities. The trail is marked with yellow blazes and there are campsites available seasonally at the Cooper Creek Recreation Area campground. To get here, start at GA 60 which is north of the Dahlonega for approximately 22 miles and then turn right following another 0.8 of a mile along the Forest Service Road 33. After which, make a left turn and follow Forest Service Road 236 for 3 miles to the 14. The trailhead is on the western edge of Cooper Creek Scenic area.

The pathway then leads to a forest of hardwoods such as white pines and hemlocks and at 1.5 miles from the trail’s start, the treadway splits into two separate trails. On the left, the Shope Gap trail marked with green blazes proceeds to another 0.9 of a mile along the ridge onto the Shope Gap where it crosses a creek and ends at the Bryant Creek Road.

On the right running a southeast direction, the Yellow Mountain Trail proceeds to the right fork across the Bryant Creek. The pathway then leads to the Addie Gap at around 2.7 miles. The hike then makes an ascent to the eastern hemlock as it enters into an open forest of oak trees. You will also find lines of shortleaf pine trees as the path rises to a ridge crest. The pathway leads to a junction with the Cooper Creek Trail which is marked by blue blazes at around 1 mile. The pathway then makes a descent to the left connecting to the Mill Shoals Trail and continues to a climb to the top of Yellow Mountain. This section is marked with large green blazes at an elevation of 2,963 feet. The trail then finally leads hikers to the Shope Gap on Duncan Ridge FS 39. The Mill Shoals Trail can be taken at this point by turning left onto the FS39 following the trail’s orange blazes.

Are You in the Right Business for You?

Do you love going into your business every morning and spending time with your clients?

This may seem a strange question to ask. If you know your life purpose, you will find the answer comes easily. Your business will become your drug initially and maybe continue to be for a very long time. So, we aware of the sacrifices that you may have to make in being a business owner.

I often wonder if solo or micro business people really know if they are in the right business or not. I do believe that if you know your WHY (your purpose) you will know if you are in the right place for you and your growth. Being in business is not something that you can do half-heartedly. It needs to be something that you want so badly that you will do whatever to make it work.

All too often I meet with people and clients who really have not thought about their WHY or the Vision and Mission of their business. To get real clarity you need to firstly know your ‘why’ for your life and only then can you really be aware if the vision is correct for you and your future.

To be in business on your own you need to be an entrepreneur who has a dream to create something extraordinary. You have to be prepared to go to whatever lengths to make sure it happens, understanding that initially there may be no money, long hours and ups and downs. It takes COURAGE to be in your own business, especially in the early days.

Firstly, ask yourself why you are in business? What is your reason? It is because you love what it is or are you there purely to make money?Choosing the correct business is important. We are all different so there is no one size fits all. Ask yourself what type of business attracts you? If you understand who you are and where your innate gifts are you will find it easy to know the type of business that suits you best.

Are you a people person or someone who likes to be behind closed doors? Once you understand this part of your personality and what it is that you love to do, then, and only then, will you know who you need to put around you to support you to grow your vision.

Knowing the industry you wish to be part of is important as well as understanding the target/ customer market that suits your service or product. The demographics are important too, for example gender, age, background, knowledge etc. Having an idea of what you want in the way of size and of staffing or if you want to do it alone needs to be considered too.

Is your business to be a quick get in and get out type of business or a hobby type business? Do you know how much you want to earn? Have you considered an Exit plan for the future also? All important questions initially.

It is also a good idea to find out what your customers/clients want that they are not getting elsewhere. What can you create that will fill the need? How can you solve their problems? What is their greatest criticism of where the marketplace is letting them down or not meeting the demand?

Has your business come from a hobby or personal interest that has heart and mind in it? Or, is it what you have been trained to do and can’t think of anything else that would suit you? Do you love what you are doing now and is it what gets you out of bed in the morning?

Is your business home-based or needing to have it’s own premises as it grows? What are you looking to create size-wise in the future? Are you considering an international, national or city business?

Is your business a service or product orientated business? This will make a difference into outlay too. A service business can be run as a home-based business without costly inventor, theft problems, product spoilage or premises.

The opportunities the internet gives us today to search, profile and gather information that will support one to create a good business is outstanding. There is so much support and knowledge that has no cost to it to work out how and what you want your business to look like. So do your research and be discerning with what you find out and learn. Find people who you can trust to discuss your ideas with who will help support you and your business to move forward.

We often have great ideas with a sound theory when in reality it just won’t or can’t work. It may be lacking skills or certain personality types, so make sure you reduce all the risk possible before you get too deep into your business creation. Make sure that you do your market research and that there are people out there wanting what you are creating! To own and run a business that will be successful takes an enormous effort. You must be willing to work the long hours, invest everything you have financially as well as physically in the dream to bring it to fruition. You need to commit and listen only to the people who you know are able to give good sound advice. Family and friends are often not the right people to do this as they will say what they can to protect you. Not everyone is an entrepreneur. Many people I come across are really the technician and are without the personality or management skills necessary to be successful long-term.

I have found that by self-understanding both personality and thinking wise you will make many less mistakes and be more successful. I then come to the question of what is SUCCESS to you as the business owner? This can vary dependent on what you want from your life, your experience, your contacts and how much you want to earn from your hard work.

Understanding your WHY for being in business in the first place is what will be the maker or breaker of your business in the long-run.

Enjoy the process and ASK for help and support whenever you can.

Getting Insurance To Pay For Preventive Health Under The ACA

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that health insurance companies pay for preventive health visits. However, that term is somewhat deceptive, as consumers may feel they can visit the doctor for just a general checkup, talk about anything, and the visit will be paid 100% with no copay. In fact, some, and perhaps most, health insurance companies only cover the A and B recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. These recommendations cover such topics as providing counseling on smoking cessation, alcohol abuse, obesity, and tests for blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes (for at risk patients), and some cancer screening physical exams. BUT if a patient mentions casually that he or she is feeling generally fatigued, the doctor could write down a diagnosis related to that fatigue and effectively transform the “wellness visit” into a “sick visit.” The same is true if the patient mentions occasional sleeplessness, upset stomach, stress, headaches, or any other medical condition. In order to get the “free preventive health” visit paid for 100%, the visit needs to be confined to a very narrow group of topics that most people will find vert constrained.

Similarly, the ACA calls for insurance companies to pay for preventive colonoscopy screenings for colon cancer. However, once again there is a catch. If the doctor finds any kind of problem during the colonoscopy and writes down a diagnosis code other than “routine preventive health screening,” the insurance company may not, and probably will not, pay for the colonoscopy directly. Instead, the costs would be applied to the annual deductible, which means most patients would get stuck paying for the cost of the screening.

This latter possibility frustrates the intention of the ACA. The law was written to encourage everyone – those at risk as well as those facing no known risk – to get checked. But if people go into the procedure expecting insurance to pay the cost, and then a week later receive a surprise letter indicating they are responsible for the $2,000 – $2,500 cost, it will give people a strong financial disincentive to getting tested.

As an attorney, I wonder how the law could get twisted around to this extent. The purpose of a colonoscopy is determined at the moment an appointment is made, not ex post facto during or after the colonoscopy. If the patient has no symptoms and is simply getting a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer because the patient has reached age 45 or 50 or 55, then that purpose or intent cannot be negated by subsequent findings of any condition. What if the doctor finds a minor noncancerous infection and notes that on the claim form? Will that diagnosis void the 100% payment for preventive service? If so, it gives patients a strong incentive to tell their GI doctors that they are only to note on the claim form “yes or no” in response to colon cancer and nothing else. Normally, we would want to encourage doctors to share all information with patients, and the patients would want that as well. But securing payment for preventive services requires the doctor code up the entire procedure as routine preventive screening.The question is how do consumers inform the government of the need for a special coding or otherwise provide guidance on preventive screening based on intent at time of service, not on subsequent findings? I could write my local congressman, but he is a newly elected conservative Republican who opposes health care and everything else proposed by Obama. If I wrote him on the need for clarification of preventive health visits, he would interpret that as a letter advising him to vote against health care reform at every opportunity. I doubt my two conservative Republican senators would be any different. They have stand pat reply letters on health care reform that they send to all constituents who write in regarding health care matters.

To my knowledge, there is no way to make effective suggestions to the Obama administration. Perhaps the only solution is to publicize the problem in articles and raise these issues in discussion forums

There is a clear and absolute need for government to get involved in the health care sector. You seem to forget how upset people were with the non-government, pure private sector-based health care system that left 49 million Americans uninsured. When those facts are mentioned to people abroad, they think of America as having a Third World type health care system. Few Japanese, Canadians, or Europeans would trade their existing health care coverage for what they perceive as the gross inequities in the US Health Care System.

The Affordable Care Act, I agree, completely fails to address the fundamental cost driver of health care. For example, it perpetuates and even exacerbates the tendency of consumers to purchase health services without any regard to price. Efficiency in private markets requires cost-conscious consumers; we don’t have that in health care.

I am glad the ACA was passed. It is a step in the right direction. As noted, there are problems with the ACA including the “preventive health visits” to the doctor, which are supposed to be covered 100% by insurance but may not be if any diagnostic code is entered on the claim form.

Congress is so polarized on health care that the only way to get changes is with a groundswell of popular support. I don’t think a letter writing campaign is the correct way to reform payment for the “preventive health visits.” If enough consumers advise their doctors that this particular visit is to be treated solely as a preventive health visit, and they will not pay for any service in the event the doctor’s office miscodes the visit with anything else, then the medical establishment will take notice and use its lobbying arm to make Congress aware of the problem.

COMMENT: Should there not be an agreement up front between both parties on what actions that will be taken if said item is found or said event should be seen or occur? Should their be a box on the pre-surgical form giving the patient the right to denying the doctor to take proper action (deemed by whom?) if they see a need to? Checking this box would save the patient the cost of the procedure, and give them time for a consult. If there is not a box to check, why isn’t there one?

There are two separate questions posed by the checkbox election for procedures. First, does a patient have a legal right to check such a box or instruct a physician/surgeon orally or in writing that he does not give consent for that procedure to be performed? The answer to that question is yes.

The second question is does it serve the economic interest of the patient to check that box? For the colonoscopy, in theory the patient would get his or her free preventive screening, but then be told the patient needs to schedule a second colonoscopy for removal of a suspicious polyp. In that case, the patient would eventually have to pay for a colonoscopy out of pocket (unless he had already met his yearly deductible), so there is no clear economic rationale for denying the physician the right to remove the polyp during the screening colonoscopy.

But we are using the much less common colonoscopy example. Instead, let’s return to preventive care with a primary care doctor. Should a patient have the right to check a box and say “I want this visit to cover routine preventive care and nothing more”? Certainly. There is way too much discretion afforded physicians to code up whatever they want on claim forms such that two physicians seeing the exact same patient might code up different procedures and diagnostics for the exact same preventive health screening visit.

When I expect to receive a “zero cost to me” preventive screening, I do not imply that I am willing to accept a “bait and switch” change of procedure and payment due to the doctor from me. The “zero cost to me” induces consumers to go to the office visit; it is actually paid for out of the profits earned by the health insurance firms to whom consumers pay monthly premiums. Consumers need to hold doctors financially accountable for their claim billing practices. If you are quoted a “zero price” for a visit, the doctor’s office better honor that price, or it amounts to fraud.

It is all too easy to find any little old thing to justify billing a patient for a sick visit instead of a wellness visit. However, it is up to the patient to prevent that kind of profiteering at his or her expense.

It would be wonderful if HHS would give carriers the proper code or specify that other diagnostic codes cannot negate the preventive screening code used for a wellness visit. That is not happening now. DHS has been bombarded with so many questions and suggestions for health care reform that the department has a fortress like mentality. So realistically, consumers cannot expect DHS to address the coding issue for preventive health screenings any time soon. That leaves the full burden to fall on each consumer to ensure the doctor’s billing practices match the patient’s expectations for a free preventive health office visit. I investigated the web site and discovered some inconsistencies. For example, the site purports to list the services covered under the “preventive health” coverage benefit, yet it omits the annual physical exam. Also, the site states that colorectal cancer screening are provided for people age 50 or older. However, I have been advised in writing that United Healthcare will cover preventive screening colonoscopies for people under age 50. In essence, that government web page is a good start to learn about preventive health care benefits, but a better source would be each consumer’s own health insurance carrier. For those with temporary insurance or who are without any insurance coverage, unfortunately, the preventive health benefit of the ACA will not have any practical consequence.

Where will the money come from for the preventive health screening visit to a primary care doctor as well as the screening colonoscopy? We have to look at different scenarios. If the patient indeed has preventive health screenings with no other medical diagnoses, then the patient will be charged $0 for these services, and they will be paid for by the insurance carrier. The insurance carrier will pay these costs out of its operating income or profits. There is simply no other source for payment. The government has not offered to pay the insurance companies for these services.

If the patient is hit with various medical diagnostic codes during these preventive health screenings, then he or she will pay his customary charge for the primary care doctor’s office visit and the contract-negotiated price for the diagnostic colonoscopy. In that scenario, the consumer will be paying most of these costs, although the visit to the primary doc may be limited up to any applicable copay amount.

It is not a big shock or surprise to say preventive health care is going to be borne by health insurance carriers. The extent to which these carriers can pass along costs to consumers through higher rates depends on the degree of competition in their markets. Ehealthinsurance.com advises me that for the vast majority of states, the insurance carriers have NOT been able to shift these costs onto consumers through higher rates. That may change in 2013 or 2014. However, the trend is clearly moving in the direction of more power for consumers, more options and carriers available to supply health insurance in their states, which means greater competition and lower prices.