I arrived at a small retail business where I found a note on the door that said “closed - family emergency – sorry”. As I was getting ready to leave, someone approached the door, read the sign and said “That is SO rude. Couldn’t they have found someone to run the store?” Probably not.
Small businesses are the foundation of our economy and yet sometimes we forget that many of the small businesses are owned by family and as you know, sometimes family things come up. Recently, I was contacted by several different businesses, asking for assistance in helping them find employees and to also teach them tips on calming down their customers. Calm down their customers? They each indicated that they have noticed less patient customers, poor attitude toward the store staff and true anger.
From the outside, owning your own business might look glamorous. You think you simply get a building, stock it with products, hire a couple of employees, throw up a website, make your own hours, take long lunches, open the front doors and customers will just pile in. Yep, they will just pile in. It just doesn’t quite happen that way.
Owning your own business is one of the hardest things you will ever do. So many families put their life savings into a business that will require them to work 70-80 hours a week, be on call 24/7, hope they hire honest and hard-working staff, fill in for staff who call off and oh yeah, survive a pandemic.
People open their own business for a variety of reasons – to live their passion or maybe fill a niche in the market. They might also be acquiring the business as a second or third generation owner. Or they might go into it to simply make money. Whatever the reason, they are taking a big risk.
If you have never owned your own business, it is very likely that the long list of expenses would surprise you. Think about the lease/rent a space, employee taxes, inventory, insurance, payroll, utilities, cleaning service, internet, accountant, IT services, legal services, workman’s comp – and that is just the start of the list.
With all of that being said, it is so important to realize that business owners are people, just like you and I. They are parents. They are tax payers. They have responsibilities beyond their business.
This is Small Business Week. During this week, I hope you will take some time to visit our local, small businesses, and know that some are working hard just to survive.
Dawn Mushill, Executive Director
Troy/Maryville/St. Jacob/Marine Chamber of Commerce