I’ll never forget sitting in the back of my dad’s Dodge Caravan, waiting impatiently while he drove us to my grandma’s house. She lived 10 hours away in southeast Iowa where the roads were unpaved and the nearest neighbor lived at least a quarter mile away.
Unlike my kids who get to travel to beautiful beaches every summer, driving to the country to visit family is what I did on vacation when I was a kid. And I AB-SO-LUT-ELY loved it!
My dad grew up in amish country where he and his 10 siblings learned how to milk cows, drive tractors and bale hay at a very young age. Like other farming families, they were very poor, but they hustled day and night and every kid pitched in to make a living.
It’s been several years, since I last visited southeast Iowa, but I have great memories and credit my dad and his family for inspiring me to be a hard worker.
I’ve noticed that many of today’s local small business owners have a similar drive and work ethic as my relatives did.
Owners spend days and nights working on their businesses. And when they aren’t working, they’re thinking about them.
How can I sell more? How can I find staff that I can trust? How in the world am I going to find the time to do everything I need to do?
These are just a few concerns that keep business owners up at night and are likely the same things my relatives thought about too.
Another thing I love about small businesses is the pride owners have in their work. You can see the pride gleaming from their eyes when they talk about their business. In fact, they can talk hours upon hours (if you let them) about how they got established, how they make their products and what they’d like to do next to grow the business.
Just like my dad’s family, I’ve got a lot of respect for small business owners. I love hearing their stories about finding what seems to be their new purpose in life. On many levels, I connect with their stories and share the same aspirations.
“Think small” and “shop local” has real meaning for me. When I want a cup of coffee, I head to the Worthington Farmer’s Market and buy from Silver Bridge, my favorite local coffee company. I feel good supporting local stores and budding entrepreneurs who present their ideas on Shark Tank (which happens to be my favorite show on TV). Many of my Christmas gifts will be from these small business owners.
Perhaps my support connects me back to my childhood and the respect I have for my southeastern Iowa relatives from long ago. And perhaps this connection is why today I enjoy owning a small business of my own.