In the spirit of Halloween, I want to share some scary facts about business and entrepreneurship. We spend countless hours on our careers and have all experienced a variety of fears, anxieties and scary moments along the way. Sometimes it’s because we realized we made a huge mistake, other times it’s because we’re headed into uncharted territory and sometimes it’s due to a myriad of things that are out of out control.
Perhaps you’re scared about getting laid off, jumping to a new career, going back for a masters degree, or having to ask for a raise. Or perhaps you’re more worried about businesses from a consumer perspective. Whatever you find scary about businesses and entrepreneurship, take comfort that you’re not alone!
Employment / On the job
* There were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2015, which occurred at a rate of 3.0 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers.
* The most common body parts injured on the job are trunks (i.e. includes back injuries), hands and then knees. Head and should injuries are roughly tied in fourth place.
* The median number of days away from work because of a job-related injury or illness for Americans is 9 days across all occupations. Don’t underestimate the value of workers compensation and sick days!
* Work induced stress is a real problem. Every day about 1 million workers call in sick due to stress. Have you?
* Even with the Affordable Care Act in place, over 28.5 million non-elderly Americans still did not have health insurance last year. This is largely due to lacking benefits at work and the high cost of coverage.
* Layoffs reached a 7-year high in 2016 and more job cuts are in the pipeline, yikes! Not even the “booming” tech industry is safe. Have you heard the news that Google, Twitter and HP recently announced headcount reductions?
* The energy sector has ben hit especially hard with layoffs this year. Computer and retail businesses have also been hit hard due to changing consumer trends, losing about 50k and 44k jobs respectively.
* Some of the companies with the most layoffs this year include Halliburton, Intel, Wal-Mart, Schlumberger, Seagate, Bank of America, Weatherford, DuPont / Dow Chemical, Microsoft and Macy’s.
* If you’re worried you could be affected by layoffs, start preparing now. A valuable resource to help you take control of your destiny I recommend reading is How to engineer your layoff by Financial Samurai. The book changed my life!
Small businesses / Entrepreneurs
* About two-thirds of small businesses survive the first 2 years, about half survive 5 years and only about one-third will survive 10 years. What you might not realize is 99.7% of all businesses in the U.S. are considered “small,” i.e. businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Thus, your job security may not be as strong as you think.
* The most common reason (82%) why so many small businesses shut down is cash flow problems. Living near “the Valley” where startups are a dime a dozen, I totally believe this. I can’t count how many times I hear about startups suddenly closing shop because they simply ran out of money and could no longer pay any of their employees or their bills.
* The top three challenges business owners claim they face are economic uncertainty, the cost of health insurance benefits and a decline in customer spending. There’s a lot to consider before starting your own company.
* The average amount of startup capital required by small business owners ranges a lot depending on who you ask. Wells Fargo says its about $10,000 but the Kauffman Foundation claims it’s more like $80,000. If you want to be an entrepreneur, explore low overhead niches and base your business online.
* Entrepreneurs who are female and/or a minority have a harder time securing lending. That’s worrisome since 1 in 4 businesses are unable to grow due to getting turned down for small business financing.
* A recent report by the OECD said trade in counterfeit goods has increased by over 80% in five-years. Counterfeit products now represent more than 2.5% of all world trade. The U.S. alone trades more than $461 billion in counterfeit and pirated goods each year.
* No company is safe from getting hacked. About 60 percent of all online hacks target small and medium sized businesses. Malware, ransomware and phishing are some of the most common attacks. The results can be devastating.
* What’s really scary is it can take months or even years for businesses and/or their customers to realize they’ve been hacked. For example, 117 million LinkedIn users were hacked back in 2012, but this didn’t become public knowledge until 2016. In addition, Yahoo’s huge email breach that affected 500 million users took almost two years to hit the news.
* Fewer than 10% of organizations are fully aware of the devices accessing their network. This is why it is important to have security protocols and restrictions in place that block external devices.
Untemplaters, does anything about your career keep you up at night? What are your biggest fears about businesses and entrepreneurship?