By Steve Alsup

The challenges inherent in owning your own business can be daunting. From ensuring proper management of finances to staying competitive in the market to knowing how to manage growth effectively, there are a number of elements that make being an entrepreneur challenging. But as many a proprietor will tell you, there are aspects of running a business in Utah that make the challenge, hard work and sacrifice worth the effort.

Here are just some of the reasons why owning a business is rewarding for entrepreneurs and our community:

Following your passion. One of the biggest rewards of being a business owner is the ability to potentially create something driven by your passion. Whether it’s a skill you’ve been utilizing in your work for years as an employee or just a hobby that you genuinely love to do, business owners have used passions from numerous places in their life to create their venture. The important thing is that you form a solid business idea around this passion, develop a well-thought-out plan and then execute it.

Flexibility. Being your own boss is something that attracts many people to the idea of entrepreneurship. But there’s actually more to the flexibility of being a business owner than just not having a “boss.” For some business owners, flexibility means launching a “side hustle” alongside more traditional employment. Some see flexibility in freelance work, where your business model is based on being able to work with a number of different clients or entities simultaneously. Still others see flexibility in being able to drive their own sources of revenue instead of just “getting a paycheck.”

Whatever the definition, the flexibility of being a business owner in Salt Lake City comes down to being able to determine your path, from your day-to-day operations to the direction of your career and your life.

However, remember the Spider-Man rule: With great power comes great responsibility. The flexibility of ownership also requires careful planning, intelligent implementation and a clear understanding of your goals.

Inspiring communities. When I think about how small businesses inspire Salt Lake City, I think of food trucks. Though the idea has been around for a long time, there was an undeniable explosion of these businesses in the past decade. But beyond just the wonderful prospect of grilled cheese or tacos that can go anywhere, what is striking about food trucks is how they have affected their communities. Be it in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle or even Salt Lake City, food trucks accumulated at a magnitude as more and more local entrepreneurs launched them, while neighborhoods started holding events specifically centered around these mobile businesses. This in turn brought neighbors together and more traffic to local brick-and-mortars in many cases.

This is the power of small business in Utah, this ability to bring people together for your services and encourage other would-be business owners to strive to do the same. It makes owning a business more than just a job or a revenue stream; it can make it a touchpoint for our community.

Driving the economy. Beyond just our local community, small businesses are also critical for the Utah economy as well. Our latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey tells us that well over 60 percent of business owners nationwide are optimistic both about their current and future financial situations. This is exciting to see because these companies make up a large portion of employer firms in the U.S., allowing the nation’s economy to succeed financially, grow and add more jobs.

There is no question that being a business owner can be tough, and some will tell you it’s one of the hardest things to undertake. But the rewards of it can be just as powerful as the challenges. With careful planning, appropriate use of resources and a lot of hard work, becoming a Utah business owner can turn an aspiring entrepreneur into a driver of not only their future, but that of our local community and far beyond.

Steve Alsup is a district manager and small business advocate for Wells Fargo Bank in Utah.

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