Why I Love Local Business
There is nothing cooler than owning a business.
There also is nothing more frustrating or scary or unsure. There is no one else to blame, excuses don’t matter and when clients don’t pay or you don’t have enough customers coming in, your family eats beans and rice. That is, if you even have customers — or a family.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way, nor would thousands of other entrepreneurs who have traded in regular jobs for the dream of making something for themselves. I am in my 13th year of business ownership, I survived working in my dining room and the Great Recession (assuming it’s over), I have recently added staff and I’m incredibly excited about the future.
Ready for Prime Time
For me, it was not really about not wanting to work for someone else. In fact, I had some tremendous bosses who taught me a lot and valued my contributions. It was much more about following a desire to see what I could do and using my unique experiences and talents to find my own niche — to find a way to contribute to the business community in my own way.
And as a control freak, I love the idea of being responsible for everything, although I quickly learned the value of good counsel and now rely on a group of trusted colleagues, advisors and friends (including my wife) for making important decisions.
Being a local business owner also makes me part of a club that I really like being in. You don’t have to be cool, thankfully, just committed to working hard and willing to adapt to an ever-changing landscape of human resources, economic conditions and technology. It is never boring.
I can never imagine going back, especially now that I have been part of the most powerful economic force in American business. (And I don’t mean debt, although that is a subject for another post.)
Small but Mighty
I believe in small business because it changes lives, impacts communities and drives economic development. Did you know that more than 75 percent of the 1,400 members of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce have 10 or fewer employees? That means for every Big Box and national chain in town (which are important economic drivers in their own right), there are dozens of small shops and service companies that are creating jobs, paying taxes and contributing to the quality of life that makes Tallahassee what it is.
Plus, for every $100 spent at a local business, an average of $68 remains in the local economy.
Everyone has a Story
I love that behind every local shop or tree service or accountant, there is a story. There is a story about why they started their business, the reason they are willing to assume so much risk and the joy they receive from getting through another payroll.
It is those stories that I love to tell, because they put a face to a company logo and give context to a catchy slogan. And when we can help a local business or association effectively communicate to their audiences, then we have helped them be successful. And that means they can keep growing and hiring and paying taxes and making Tallahassee a better place to live.
And that makes me happy.
Why do you love small business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.