Photo Caption: Left- My dad actually made a pond for my mom behind the house he excavated for her. Middle- One of my first rides in the bulldozer. Right- My youngest nephew plays with Grandpa.
The smell of engine grease, the rumble of a bulldozer motor, the hiss of air brakes. These were the sounds of my childhood. After nearly 40 years, my dad still owns a small excavating/snow removal business in West Michigan. I remember the long hours he worked, how my mom fretted over renewing contracts, and the gleam in his eyes when he showed us projects he completed.
Fast forward a few decades, and here I sit at my work desk long past 5 o’clock, fretting over contract renewals, and gloating about a recent work success. Yes, I am my father’s daughter. It’s one of the reasons I started my company- because I believe in the power of the small business.
Only in a small business… can a decision be made in five minutes about running an ad in the local sports program.
Only in a small business… will the owner him or herself take a personal interest in your project being completed with excellence.
Only in a small business… is work flexibility a reality without the hassle of corporate red-tape.
Only in a small business… does the dollar you spend pour back into the community where you spent it.
Supporting small businesses isn’t just something we should do on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Small businesses should be the first to get our hard-earned dollars. Those dollars, after all, don’t wind up lining the pockets of nameless investment corporations. Those dollars pay for a membership to the local YMCA, or dinner at the restaurant down the road, or to the plumber who went to school with your brother.
I’m completely enthralled with the Small Business Revolution series that Deluxe is doing right now. They have gone into one of my favorite Indiana small towns, Wabash (my husband and I married in North Manchester and Wabash had some great little shops to help us with the Big Day), and are helping this small town build its small businesses.
It’s really inspired me to get back to the WHY of my business. I started this company two years ago to help small businesses tell their stories. I’m finally seeing the fruits of helping my clients with their marketing, public relations, and online presence. As they grow, they build the community that surrounds them.
Small businesses are a big deal. According to the SBA, small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and America’s small businesses account for 54% of all U.S. sales.
So what can you do to support your community’s small business culture? Here are a few ideas:
- Shop local first. Before you head to a large box store, think about locally owned stores that may have the same thing. While you may think you’re paying more, it becomes a bargain when you stop buying things you don’t need and contribute to your community’s growth.
- Share positive experiences. When you have good experience, tell a friend. Or better yet, write an online review on the company’s Facebook page or using Google.
- Stay interested in what’s happening. The internet cannot replace face-to-face networking. Get to know the small business owners in your area. Join and support your local chamber of commerce and pay attention to new storefronts.
Let’s work together to build the heart of our communities: small businesses.