By now, with any luck, you've filed your taxes, written your check and put the whole miserable episode behind you. You're done gathering receipts, printing profit and loss statements and answering endless questions from your accountant.
There are times when filing your business taxes can seem like a never-ending odyssey … a very stressful one at that. If you're unfortunate enough to end up owing Uncle Sam, you have the double whammy — a big fat tax bill and a hefty one from your accountant, too.
It's often during this time that many entrepreneurs ask themselves why they even bother owning a business at all. Surely it would be easier to have a regular job and leave all the paperwork and regulatory nonsense to someone else.
This probably isn't the only time of the year you wonder why you ever decided to start your own business. All the times you skipped a paycheck, couldn't pay your suppliers and wondered when your next customer was going to materialize probably left you asking the same question.
Between government regulations, taxes, employee problems, customers who don't pay, health insurance companies that don't return phone calls, piles and piles of forms and paperwork, it's a wonder anyone at all manages to stay in business for themselves. The rewards rarely outweigh the heartaches.
So why do you do it? You've probably asked yourself that a million times while lying awake at night wondering if your business was going to make it. It certainly isn't making you rich, you probably don't get very much time off and it's surely more stressful than having a 9-to-5 job.
The answer, of course, is that you just can't help yourself. Most successful entrepreneurs say they were just born that way. They're not happy unless they're finding new ways to build a business, market an idea or attract a customer. It's what you love to do and you just wouldn't be happy doing it for someone else.
Well, now it's time for a little reassurance. According to new research, being an entrepreneur is not only good for your own personal morale, it's also good for your community. While past research has found that successful small businesses are good for a town's home values, new research takes it further than that.
It turns out that small businesses are good for a community's very structure and that the number of big-box stores in a town directly correlates with the number and activity of racist hate groups.
Sounds crazy, right? But, according to the research it seems to be true and there's logic behind it. Small-business owners form the backbone of a community, the researchers say. They take an interest in their employees, their employees' families and the overall well-being of their towns.
"Local business owners are typically members of community and civic groups, such as the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, which help establish programs promoting civic engagement and fostering community values," the researchers said. Losing members of such groups may cause a drop in community cohesion, they suggest.
[Read full story here: Do Big-Box Stores Help Create Hate Groups? Study Says Yes]
"While we like to think of American society as being largely classless, merchants and bankers are part of what we could call a leadership class in a community," the researchers said.
Being a community leader isn't just for politicians, you see. In fact, according to one recent survey, people trust their local business leaders far more than they do politicians or even clergy.
Even if you're not involved with your local small-business groups, you're still important to your community. Your company's very existence helps create stability and economic growth and that's something you can be proud of…even on tax day.
Jeanette Mulvey has been the managing editor of BusinessNewsDaily since its debut in 2010. She has written about small business for more than 20 years and formerly owned her own e-commerce business. Her column, Mind Your Business, appears on Mondays only on BusinessNewsDaily. You can follow her on Twitter at @jeanettebnd or contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.