Bankrupt businessman

"Simply opening a business takes tens of thousands of dollars. Chances are the owner has a large debt for the first five years in operation; definitely not rich."

We are told thousands of maxims and idioms throughout our lives. Some are true, such as always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident. Some are fiction, like death and taxes are things we all face, but not everyone pays taxes. I’ll dispel a few more myths.

“You’re a business owner, so you must be rich.” Every business owner who read that rolled their eyes. Let me start before the doors are even open: First is finding a location, which means buying or leasing a space. That’s thousands of dollars right there. Then come the remodel and installing new signs. Next is purchasing inventory, office supplies, phones, computers and other equipment, followed by hiring and training staff; lots of money going out and none coming in because the business hasn’t opened yet. Simply opening a business takes tens of thousands of dollars. Chances are the owner has a large debt for the first five years in operation; definitely not rich.

Let me tell you a myth that hovers around the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce: We are not the U.S. Chamber, Arizona Chamber or any other chamber of commerce. Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce is its own entity. While we have relationships with other organizations, we do what’s best to facilitate the success of the members and support prosperity in our community.

Here’s another one: Local businesses must sponsor every booster club, youth sports team and school activity. Ask this question: Is everyone supporting the business owner who supports their cause or are they shopping someplace else? In my previous position, a friend owned one of the county’s largest home décor stores. In one year, he literally gave $10,000 to the little and softball leagues, sponsored two teams, sponsored the high school volleyball team, and donated merchandise as raffle items to several other groups. Sadly, too many of the coaches and parents went out of town to shop instead of his store, and he had to cut back on participation. Money doesn’t grow on trees, which is another true idiom.

There are other myths about business the same way some generalities are stuck to people or groups. Not every millennial is lazy; not every tall person plays basketball; an unmarried person over the age of 30 doesn’t have something wrong with them. You get the idea. A way to dissolve myths is to remember a good maxim: “You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”