Small Business Week: Lessons Learned

This week is National Small Business Week, a week dedicated to celebrating and supporting small businesses in your community. Although The Income Tax School is a National Business, its sister company, Peoples Tax is a small business. The Income Tax School actually grew out of a need to hire qualified tax preparers for Peoples Tax.

At The Income Tax School, it’s part of our mission to encourage and help support professionals in the industry on their career path. As I reflect on Small Business Week, I’d like to share some lessons I’ve learned along the way.

You can’t change the past, but you can change the future.

The past is the past. There’s nothing you can do about it. Keep moving forward and don’t spend your energy worrying about mistakes that have already been made. You can survive almost any business crisis if you persevere – get back on your feet and never give up. The future is what you make of it.

Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to succeed.

Being afraid to succeed is something many business owners suffer from. They don’t put themselves out there like they should, are afraid to take risks. The fear of “being a fraud” – that you don’t deserve the business or you’re not good enough – is a real fear you will face. Stop listening to those voices. Be courageous. Put yourself out there. Be ready to succeed.

Practical experience is not a substitute for formal education.

This is especially true in the tax industry. While practical experience is important, it’s not a substitution for formal education. As a High School drop out, I can tell you that I gained a lot of practical experience in the world. It wasn’t until I went to college – at the age of 31 – that it all came together for me. Once I learned the theories, I was able to internalize the knowledge I had gained through practical experience.

Giving back is important.

It’s gratifying to give back to the communities in which you operate. Volunteering can help level out the rollercoaster ride you’re going to experience as an entrepreneur. It’s really a win-win for the organization, for your mental health, and for your business.

If you want to survive, you need to constantly adapt and change to ensure growth.

If Netflix didn’t pivot, they would not be the $100 billion company they are now. Same with Amazon, Google, and many of the world’s most powerful companies. Your business should always be evolving and changing.

Peoples Tax is a great example. When we first opened, our business model was to serve the routine 1040 and 1040A taxpayer. But as the industry evolved and self-preparing tax software became more prevalent, we had to expand beyond simple forms to more complex forms. We added business services like bookkeeping and payroll to attract more business clients. When we started struggling to find qualified preparers, we had to be innovative. We started a tax school to recruit and train our own people and ended up starting The Income Tax School.

The Income Tax School serves over 3,000 students worldwide. I am proud of what we’ve built and love that we can provide people with a means to start a new career and build their own business. Here’s a video that sums up everything I’ve discussed in this blog post. I hope it inspires you to keep moving forward. To believe in yourself and to persevere. If you need anything, we’re here with education, business resources, and lots of advice.

 

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