Small business, big responsibility

By Danielle Alio
February 11, 2010

Growing up with a family-owned business was definitely an experience full of ups and downs. When people first hear that my family owns a business, I usually get a reaction like “you’re so lucky,” “that’s so cool” or “I wish my family owned a bakery.” The truth is there is a lot more to it. Yes, my dad is his own boss but there are negatives to that.

First, if you own your own small business, you are responsible for all of the finances. You are responsible for the bills, taxes, payroll, inventory, etc. When the economy is bad many small businesses like my family’s bakery cannot afford to hire employees. When this happens, both of my parents have to work a lot longer than they should covering more than one shift with no extra pay.

Since there is a lack of employees and most work at a bakery has to be completed in the morning, both of my parents have to wake up at 1 a.m. to get started on the work. Orders have to be filled, cakes need decorating and the donuts need to be fried. Usually, they won’t come home until the afternoon and then it is back to bed at 6 p.m.

Not only do my parents have to run the place without much help, but they also have to avoid debt. In order to avoid debt during hard times, my family has to constantly put money back into the business. Many times, a paycheck will go right back into the business just to pay the bills. It is a horrible feeling to have to struggle to pay the bills and that is a feeling many families are experiencing because of the economy.

Another factor that hurts a small business is competition. Competition is getting worse and worse every year. There are fewer and fewer small businesses because big corporations such as Wal-Mart, Target and Giant sell basically everything you need. The big corporations are constantly trying to out do one another by adding more and more products to their stores. It is getting to be all about one-stop-shopping. Anyone can go to a Wal-Mart and buy groceries, apparel, electronics and almost anything else one can think of. When someone can just go to major retailer, why would they stop at a small local bakery? In some cases, yes, the baked goods at supermarkets are cheaper but they lack quality, are full of preservatives and are usually always pre made. My parents make everything from scratch with no preservatives.

One of the biggest down sides to having a small business is that it takes up most of your time and energy. My parents put a lot of time into the bakery. Some days I won’t see them at all because I’ll leave for school before they come back home.

My parents cannot afford to close the bakery for time off, especially because of the current state of the economy. When I was really young, I would live at my grandmother’s house every weekend because my parents would be working. Even though I would never see my parents on the weekend, I am grateful that I did have all of that time with my grandmother because I learned a lot from her and have a really close bond with her.

When owning a small business, you has to be prepared for sacrifices. You have to be willing to sacrifice different things in life in order to make it work. As of right now, the economy is really not in favor of small businesses; therefore, more sacrifices have to be made.

After reading this, one may ask why my parents would want to keep the business and the answer is that they love what they do.

In order to wake up everyday and go through the whole process again, you should love what you do. If you love what you do, you won’t mind making the sacrifices. One has to have the drive and passion that will help them make their business a success.

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Danielle Alio

Danielle Alio
Cabrini College '12
The Loquitur Manging Editor
LOQation Executive Producer
WYBF FM - On Air DJ/Assistant Production Director
Cabrini College Theater-Stage Crew/Actress

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