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13 Secrets Business Owners Will Never Tell You

One of the many perks: picking who we work with.

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We asked a group of small-business owners about the honest realities and misconceptions of running a company. Here's what they said.

1. There are some amazing perks to being our own boss.

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For starters, we can literally pick our company's perks. And no one can say anything if we take a super-long lunch.

2. Most of us don't have huge egos – in fact, it's probably the opposite.

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Any good business owner will tell you that we're nothing without our employees. Teamwork and collaboration between everyone is key to running a business.

3. We definitely don't have all the answers.

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We just have to pretend like we do.

4. And there are awkward moments where people assume we know way more about business than we actually do.

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We usually end up smiling and nodding through the conversation – and hoping that no one notices.

5. We usually have no idea what to do if we make a wrong decision or if a plan falls through.

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Thank god for coffee and adrenaline (and the internet).

6. There's a lot of pressure on us to never make a mistake.

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Our employees' livelihoods depend upon the company succeeding and doing well, so there's a lot of responsibility on us to do well.

7. We're constantly learning on the job.

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Being a business owner means failing countless times before landing on the right answer. These experiences teach us a lot about the world of business – much more than we learned at university.

8. Running a business totally consumes our lives.

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Writing emails from bed, never taking holidays, working through weekends... The reality of running a business isn't very glam.

9. Not all of us have super-lavish lifestyles.

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Attracting talent, incentivising employees, and reinvesting in the company mean that some business owners are the lowest paid within their companies.

10. And other people usually assume that we have loads in the bank.

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Expectation: five-star hotels and designer clothes.

Reality: overdrafts and investor reports.

11. Running a business doesn't mean that we're constantly stressed.

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When we've got the right people in our company, we're constantly (delightfully) surprised at how well everything is going.

12. And there are so many rewarding and fulfilling moments.

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There's nothing quite like giving a promotion or pay rise to a valued member of staff. Or hearing our company being praised by a stranger. Those moments make all the hard work worth it.

13. In short, being in charge is a wild ride.

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Being a business owner is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. Would we change it? Not for the world.

Run a small or medium-sized business? Cisco provides SMEs with products and services that helps businesses collaborate more efficiently. Find your solution here.