August 18, 2017

The Joys of Working With Small Business Owners

Almost every day a small business owner comes into my office to share his or her dream with me.

Sometimes they’ve already got a business, whether it’s a storefront, a home office, or a retail space. Other times it’s just an idea that they want to bounce off me to see if it makes sense. Often the person comes in covertly during their lunchtime so their boss won’t know about their desire to escape the cubicle and create something new.

This is the best part of my day.

Nothing picks me up like hearing the entrepreneurial ideas of small business owners and future small business owners. It’s like caffeine for the soul. Their dreams power the future success of our country and our economy.

Of course, there’s a long journey between a dream and success. It’s a path that requires long hours, sacrifices, and trying to find the nearly impossible balance of running a business and having a life.

It’s not for everybody. I know a number of people who wanted to work for themselves because they wanted more flexibility, free time, or didn’t want to answer to a boss.

Flexibility? Yes, you’ve got to be flexible to somehow juggle all the jobs you’re suddenly saddled with, from sales to marketing to accounting to hiring to buying office supplies to taking out the trash.

Free time? I don’t know a business owner who doesn’t check email before they go to bed and as soon as they wake up. Who often works through lunch. Who reviews their numbers after dinner at the dining room table.

Not answering to a boss? When you run a small business you suddenly have to answer to dozens, maybe hundreds of bosses…from your customers to your employees to your vendors to the tax collectors to your spouse wondering why you’re late for dinner…again.

Small business owners are the hardest working people I know. These are the men and women who get up early, flesh out business strategies after they’ve put the kids to bed, who work out of their living rooms and coffee shops until they can afford a space of their own. They’re also the people who employee 95% of the workers in my home state of Maine. (The unofficial small business state of America.)

They work without a safety net. They know that they have mouths to feed–both family members and the family members of their employees–and they’ve got to get it done, and done right. Fear of letting others down is their only safety net.

They’re constantly learning and working to expand their business. They read articles online, attend lunch & learns, network at After Hours events, and hustle–really hustle–to get and keep their business.

If it wasn’t for them, business in America would grind to a halt.

You see them every day. Maybe it’s the woman running the local coffee shop in the shadow of a giant corporate coffee franchise. Maybe it’s the IT consultant who makes your network secure. Maybe it’s personal trainer at the gym, or the sales trainer who consults at your corporation.

Maybe she’s your car mechanic, or maybe he’s your dentist. Maybe it’s your corporate lawyer who’s running a successful collectibles business on eBay after hours.

Maybe they align themselves with the Tea Party, or Occupy Wall Street, or maybe they wonder how anyone can take time off to protest anything when there’s so much work to get done. You’ll find them on both sides of the aisle, and more often than not right in the middle.

You’ll find them in churches, temples, mosques, or walking in the woods.

And often, you’ll find them in the mirror.

Despite all the variances and differences in small business owners. they all have something in common: they all work incredibly hard.

You may ask yourself—unless you already know the answer–how can anyone work this hard, make so many sacrifices and risk so much when the future is unclear, when the economy is sputtering, and when so many others have failed before?

It’s because small business owners run on the most efficient, environmentally-friendly, sustainable energy there is: passion.

It’s this mix of passion and hard work that drives small business owners to put in the long hours so they can turn their vision into your reality.

Now, I’ve got to run. I’ve got a meeting with another entrepreneurial person who wants to take the world by storm.

Best part of my day.



About Rich Brooks 25 Articles
Rich Brooks is president of flyte new media, a Web site design and Internet marketing company in Portland, Maine. Flyte works with small businesses to build professional Web sites that often include e-commerce, Flash and content management systems. They promote their clients' sites through search engine optimization, e-mail marketing, business blogs and social media. You can follow him on Twitter at

5 Comments on The Joys of Working With Small Business Owners

  1. I’ve found the hardest part of being a small business owner is keeping the passion and the faith, when you’re struggling to actually build it to a point you can actually call it income. All the while dodging individuals who just want to make money off you while giving nothing in return but empty promises and watching out for scammers and individuals engaging in fraudulent activities. You’d think that if small businesses are so important in this country that there would be a lot more legitimate help and resources for the to prosper.

  2.  Thank you so much for writing such an encouraging article to us small business owners.  With all the bad new surrounding the world’s economic future, it can really be a source of stress for all of us who are working hard to manage our businesses and provide sufficiently for our families.  This article gives us the encouragement we need to continue to work hard.

  3. Mary,

    During my experience of working with business owners, I’ve found two most common causes of problems.

    First, many business owners operate with the "seat-of-the-pants" management style.  That is, they depend on their own previous experience, energy and entrepreneurial vision.

    Second, they have inadequate financial base to start with or progressively weakning cash flows that make it extremely difficult to continue.

    How to prevent or address the current problems?

    Conduct an exhaustive evaluation of youcr company’s management performance to identify what you do very well and where improvements are needed.  Find out what needs to be done to address problems and also further exploit areas where you excel.

    I’d love to chat with you on this subject.  One point I’d like to add is this:  You would never build an enduring business depending on government assistance.  You have no choice but to become a professional manager and a business leader.

  4. Communication is a form of selling, so how you communicate is vital. Public speaking is a very important communication tool and is an essential key skill. It is a very effective way to communicate who you are, face to face, with potential customers and to sell your services, letting them know what you do and, more specifically, how you can help them.

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