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The Anxiety of Being a Small Business Owner

Posted on: April 6th, 2021

Doug remembers it like it was yesterday.  “I was sitting in the back of our family SUV while my wife and son took turns driving,” he recalls.  “We were heading out west for our vacation and was trying to finish this report before we arrived.  It was awful.” Doug was experiencing the anxiety of being a small business owner.

A Moment of Desperation

anxiety small business owner

That was the point where Doug Briggs decided something had to change.  Doug is the owner of Briggs Creative Solutions (BCS), a 10 person engineering, surveying, and right-of-way survey firm in Mason OH.  And the report was his annual Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) report for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).

The FAR report is no small thing.  It allows BCS to maintain an “unlimited” contractor status with ODOT. That means he can work on any ODOT related project in the state of Ohio.  “That status is our bread and butter,” Doug says.  “It means we can provide proposals on work that’s too small for the big firms, but still requires an ODOT certification.

The FAR is ODOT’s way of verifying that a contractor is both qualified to perform large-scale projects and is not charging excessive prices for that work.  “My experience working for big firms puts me in the unique place of being qualified,” Doug says.  “And I’ve got a great team that helps me deliver.”

Larger firms have teams that help them manage the administrative overhead.  And they combine government work with other, more lucrative private contracts.  But Doug was the only person at BCS working on the report, and he knew he needed to broaden his customer base to grow his firm.

And there’s a need for his services.  “Our experience and status with ODOT mean we can help private property owners and small developers,” Doug points out.  “They often run afoul of a government project but can’t get a straight answer on how to resolve the problem. That’s where we can help.”

The Anxiety of Being a Small Business Owner

But maintaining the financial reports to satisfy the FAR took too much of his time.  “If we don’t maintain our unlimited status, it reduces our possible market,” Doug says.  “But, completing the report was keeping me from finding new customers.”  Doug was stuck.

Doug was experiencing something many business owners feel: the burden of working in the business was preventing him from working on the business.  This was creating real anxiety for Doug as a small business owner who was struggling to find any margin to make progress toward these larger goals.  That vacation road trip began seemed to symbolize the direction of his firm.

How did Doug get out of the back seat and back behind the wheel?  Visit the BSC client page, or subscribe to our email list below to find out.

Ready to talk about how MLA can help you get back in the driver’s seat?  Contact us!