Things we’ve learned over the last few years of working with small business owners:
It’s about collaboration, not competition. Based on what we’ve learned over the years working with small business owners, it’s hard to overstate the importance of showing up and supporting one another, and few people seem to understand this better than the small business community. Attending, promoting, and participating in each other’s events; referring clients; spreading the word each other; and working together isn’t just good for business, it keeps you inspired and connected.
There’s nothing more interesting than authenticity. Small business owners have dedicated their lives to their craft. Their expertise and experiences are invaluable, their stories and perspectives are unique, and their offerings are curated and cultivated by them. Take it from us, there is truly endless inspiration to be found in getting to know the small business owners in our communities.
It’s worth the risk. Deciding to strike out on your own is scary. However, after speaking with many small business owners over the years, the vast majority seem to believe that taking the leap was absolutely the right decision. The reasons may vary, from having the ability to forge your own path, to going at your own pace, but consensus is that you’ll find rewards in unexpected places.
Being open to evolving is essential. The past few months have taught us that we need to be able to adapt. Small business owners appear to be especially good at this. Maybe it’s because they’re especially attuned to their clients’ needs, or conditioned to be able to learn new things and make changes quickly, but whether it’s starting an e-commerce site or embracing social media or coming up with an entirely new business offering, small business owners are excellent at thinking outside the box and answering the call when it comes to meeting their customers’ needs.
Owning a business is a labor of love. The whole notion of working 9 to 5 goes out the window for small business owners. But you 100% get back what you give. And at the end of the day, doing what makes you happy, being able to provide jobs for your employees, and feeling like you make a difference to your clients and community make the toil and long hours pay off. There’s no greater satisfaction than that.
You have to put yourself out there. If you’re going to survive, let alone thrive, you can’t stand on the sidelines. Believing your endeavor will succeed isn’t enough. Every day you have to make connections and stay in touch with customers.
It’s not about vanity. Launching your own business is not a glamorous project. While on the outside, your name and picture might be on your website and social media feed, in reality, there is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into the work. Usually at the beginning, you’re working on your own, with the tasks involving everything from manual labor to all-nighters staring at a computer screen. But in the end, the effort is worth it.
You never arrive. It’s incorrect to assume that a small business owner will reach a moment when their mission is complete. Often, once they reach the point when their business is a success, they have to keep adapting to stay relevant, or see a need or opportunity that they feel compelled to take on. We’ve found that it’s just not in a small business owner’s personality type to coast when there’s a customer to serve or community to engage.