Three Cheers for Small Business!

In honor of National Small Business Week, I wanted to acknowledge and share what working at a small business means to me.  According to U.S. Small Business Administration:

“More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.”

Chances are YOU are impacted by small businesses in your own life too.  Without further ado, here are three cheers for my small business employer:

Cheer #1 – My small business offers FLEXIBILITY!

This is so important for me, as I juggle raising my 2 and 4 year old children, while still being able to work part-time at a fulfilling and interesting marketing job.  It took some time to find this job, as I wrote about last year, but I am so pleased that it has been such a good fit.  I write more about my search and journey in this post.

Cheer #2 – My small business Lacks Red Tape!

I talked about having to adjust my full-time and larger, corporate mindset to fit my part-time role and small business in transition back to work. With a lot of careful prioritization and planning (and fewer approvals), I am amazed at how much that can be accomplished in a limited amount of time. It feels good to go into work and really tackle my “must-do-today” list.  I feel a sense of accomplishment checking things off that list each day.

In terms of “red tape,” one story best sums up the larger corporate experience vs. a small business (and when I say small, I mean five total employees – full and part-time – small):

I was planning our big annual customer event and required a check for down payment on our event space.  I asked my boss about the check request procedure. He replied,”Okay, how much to you need, and how should I write it out?”  In less than 5 minutes, the completed check was on my desk.  Done and Done! Love that!

Cheers #3 – My small business provides OPPORTUNITY!

In previous marketing roles I have always been a member of the marketing department.  Sometimes my title included the term manager, but I was never in charge of the big picture.  In my current role, I am a solo marketer. I am in charge of coming up with overall strategy and plans and implementing them down to the very last detail.  I do it all – wearing many hats – as all small business employees must do!

When I started this job over a year ago, I often shared my concern with my boss that I was accustomed to bouncing ideas off of other people much more (instead of just my boss and the two-person sales team).  He admitted that when he first started the business nine years ago, when it was just him, that he struggled with that aspect too. In time he learned to simply do his research, trust his gut, and forge ahead.  This attitude has given me more confidence to trust my instincts and efficiently move projects forward. It’s rewarding to see your work in action and measure results more easily (at times) when compared to larger organizations.

How do you root for small businesses?

Related Posts:

Shop Small. Buy Local. Do Good. – This post is from The Do Gooder Mama, who is recently back from a blogging-break. Do check out her blog for inspiration and awesomeness!

Fresh & Flavorful Straight from the Cheese Maker

I have had this post sitting as a draft for sometime now, and I’m FINALLY going to put some meat on it’s outline bones it and push it out of the nest to fly into the wide wide web world.

Writing this post reminds me of a blogging friend – the Do Gooder Mama – someone whose awesome blog hasn’t had much to say as of late.  I hope all is well with her and am including links to her blog for you to enjoy.

One of her posts Shop Small. Buy Local. Do Good. helps explain my reasons for buying cheese straight from the factory as part of our Cheese Ventures across this beautiful state of Wisconsin.  Some of my loved ones who shall remain nameless have yet to understand my cheese obsession. With our latest visit to Cady Cheese, I realized that it is simply enjoying the BEST quality food straight from the manufacturer, while taking short, delicious breaks on our family road trips.

If you’re ever along Highway 94 past Eau Claire and heading towards Minnesota, I would highly recommend a short jaunt to Cady Cheese.  Just follow the yellow brick road to the front of the store past the lovely landscaping.  We were greeted by several friendly and knowledgeable employees, who offered us samples (YES)!  We enjoyed freshly made colby cheese that squeaked as we chewed it. Amazing! And to think that I assumed only fresh cheese curds could squeak! We settled on three cheese: Golden Jack (picked by my 3 year old), 6 yr old Cheddar, and roasted tomato monterrey jack.  Pairing these cheeses with Capital beer – also purchased along our road trip – made for a delectable combination of Wisconsin’s finest for our dear Minnesota friends.

The Benefits of Shopping Small

Recently I’ve been noticing a remarkable difference in the quality of food purchased locally instead of from the supermarket. We’ve picked and purchased apples from farmers and have enjoyed a lot of produce from our local farmer’s market.  Food just seems to last longer and taste better.

Case in point – Daddy O. critiqued an asparagus and tomato side dish I made using grocery store produce, saying the tomatoes lacked flavor.  And sure enough, a farmer at our market explained to us that tomatoes you buy in the store are typically picked when still green, leaving them to ripen during transportation. The longer they stay on the vine, the more they develop their flavor.  (We’re hoping our tomatoes will ripen before the frost comes, so they’ll taste better!)

A few stats from Do-Gooder Mama’s post from E-Local:

– Throughout the United States, only about 33.6% of the revenue from national chains is reinvested into the community, which is very low compared to the 64.8% return from local businesses. (2009)

– If the people of an average American city were to shift 10% of their spending from chains to local businesses, it would bring an additional $235 million per year to the community’s economy.

In addition to great taste, the economic benefits are truly felt in your own community.  Being employed by a small business myself, I plan on shifting some of my buying to local stores – especially to all of the amazing cheese factories!

Have you frequented farmer’s markets or bought straight from the producer / cheese maker?  How do you support small business?