In 2016 I want to write for you AND for me – small business owners in small business districts in Boston - and I want to write with you, not at you.
I have learned that there is NO ONE RIGHT ANSWER out there for stabilizing or growing a business, because our businesses are each as different as our own individual personalities and skill sets. And I’ve found that useful advice comes from those who have tried them, tested them, and discussed them with others - AND MEASURED THEIR PERFORMANCE IN SOME WAY so that readers/listeners can judge for themselves, rather than just take the writer's word for it. And that useful advice is most reliable from those that share their failures as well as their successes, their efforts and struggles, as well as their inspiration and insight.
So, here goes the Boston Small Business Blog for 2016 – ride along, join in, share an idea or resource, add your own constructive criticism or encouragement or similar experience, etc etc.
I write this for small business owners and myself (a small business owner and business coach), but if you find this helpful and you're a swim coach at the local Y, a mother of 3 staying at home, the staff writer for a magazine, a social media manager at a big company or college student working to finish your degree, you are definitely welcome, too.
The goal is to collect and curate a set of marketing tools/skills/strategies that are useful to small business owners in Boston, especially business owners who operate in under-resourced communities and other small business districts.
While the focus will be on small business owners, medium and large business owners are definitely welcome in this community and blog. There are tons of tools and lessons that apply to everyone, no matter what size your business is.
I have had the good fortune to work with small business owners in the last three years, and found it to be extremely challenging, rewarding, and endlessly fascinating! Business owners are on an adventure - a serious one to put food on the table, roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and growth for their family - but also to provide a product or service of value to society, jobs for their employees and community, and and additional resources for the community. They are primarily on their own, figuring it all out as they go (most aren't coming out of college with a business degree or trying to create a multi-million dollar operation). They have saved what they could, borrowed from themselves, from relatives or even friends, purchased what they needed, maybe leased a store/office, and started selling as best they could. You know the story – you’ve lived it – or you’re seriously considering it.
The hard part is that there are so many pieces to keep oiled and maintained to make a reliable income and keep a business productive, that it is very hard to do it as a single solo person. As I've said for the past two years in the classes I teach and coaching sessions and presentations I've made to business owners: it really takes a team. Very rarely have I seen a business succeed that involved one leader/owner. It's just too complicated otherwise.
One of the hardest challenges is that almost none of those resources shows you how to do it. None of them stay with you and guide you day in and day out, week in and week out. It's all up to you.
The great part is that it is all in your control and a creation of your own imagination, hours, ingenuity, trial-and-error, self-reflection, research, and work ethic.
The good news is that there are lots of resources out there – including peers, fellow business owners, who want to share and learn together.
But a blog – especially a blog that really gets what you are doing and focuses week in and week out on the nitty gritty that you work with every week – can be a great resource and companion.
I hope this blog provides some useful insights for my readers - a place to connect with themselves ("hey, I had the same experience this year"), a place to reflect ("oh yea, I need to put that routine back onto my schedule"), a place to find ideas and resources, a place to consider models or systems and reflect on your own, a place to connect with others (click on a link, leave a comment, share a link you’ve found or a strategy you like that others could benefit from).
By building each other up, we build our community – together, individually, in groups.
And we learn to specialize and deepen our expertise.
By building a community of small businesses and resources, we will certainly reap what we sow – it will come back around to benefit us in some way over and over: you’ll get someone who wants to thank you by sharing something that will help you; you’ll get new-customer referrals; a peer business will hire your business to help them or will buy one (or more) of your products; people who read your suggestion and try it out themselves and have success with it will tell others about you and how they learned about the idea, and those peers will learn about your business and possibly approach your business.
Please comment - share a thought - make a suggestion - share a link...
I can't wait to begin seeing owners participating in this blog!!!
Happy New Year, Business Owners!!
Check out our website at www.SmallBizHelper.org and our Blog on that site!
- Adam Gibbons, Consultant