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?
re: “* 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.”
Wow, that’s amazing – I didn’t realize such a small percentage make it to the 10-year mark and that so many businesses are in that small-biz category – that certainly explains a lot about why no-one works for the same company for decades anymore!
yeah, it’s pretty surprising to hear but surviving long term is definitely tough. I just found out one of my friends who is in the restaurant business (she was doing tremendously well when I saw her 2 years ago) is in major conflict with her business partners now and is headed to court. Yikes. I wish her the best!
OMG, going to court would royally suck! I can only imagine the stress she must be experiencing, not the mention the enormous annoyance of having to blow a bunch of money on legal fees. 🙁
Mustard Seed Money says
Sometimes I worry if my skill set will really transfer. I am super comfortable with one set of accounting standards but it’s narrow. I sometimes worry if I will be able to translate that into other areas. So sometimes I feel like I’m bound to my job for the foreseeable future.
I can understand that. Accounting can be rather quirky from one industry to another. You won’t know what you’re capable of if you don’t try though. It doesn’t hurt to search for other opportunities and to interview for jobs while you’re still working. You never know – the specific skills you have could prove quite useful to companies in other areas.
Finance Solver says
What’s keeping me up at night is the layoffs numbers. I’m petrified and absolutely terrified that I could lose my job at any moment for reasons beyond my control. Looking for side income projects or other forms of income is so essential these days. It’s scary. Gone are the days that employers take care of their employees through retirement!
yeah job security isn’t what it used to be. The entire job market has changed so much over the last 10, 20 years. Makes me wonder what it will be like 10, 20 years in the future.
Sam @ Financial Samurai says
The health benefits of early retirement are priceless. Ever since leaving corporate america in 2012, I’ve stopped grinding my teeth and feeling any chronic pains.
In retrospect, I wish I took MORE sick days every year off to destress. Working non stop is not a badge of honor. It’s stupid!
I agree. I should have taken more sick days too. And I also feel healthier after leaving my super stressful job.
Go Finance Yourself! says
“Every day about 1 million workers call in sick due to stress.” Wow that seems like a lot! I can’t imagine ever calling in sick due to stress. I think it would actually make me more stressed knowing there was work sitting there that needed to get done. I’m not one for calling in sick anyways unless I’m lying on the bathroom floor hugging the toilet!
yeah it surprised me too. I definitely underutilized my sick day benefits when I had them.