Welcome to the inaugural post of the blog Chief Cook and Bottle Washer: Sharing the Adventure of Small Business Ownership. I have a Small Business that I started eleven years ago with a partner. I love learning about business. I love running my business. I love talking about business. In fact, a great deal of my time is spent doing these three things, which I find exciting, invigorating, and interesting. I take pride in my business and how it has positively affected my community.
The problem is, as those of you with a Small Business of your own know, that the reality of it is not always as wonderful as all that. In fact, it can be downright disheartening, exhausting, and just plain hard. Bottle Washer and I have an on-going joke between us whenever something happens, which seems like a lot (like this past Easter weekend when we had a flood in our building), and no one else is there to help out, handle the situation, or just do it – we look at each other and laugh and say, “It’s just you and me, right?” (Yes, I know it should be “just you and I,” but, well…) In other words, when you own a mom & pop shop, and it comes right down to it, its just you.
Business ownership really is just a series of problems that present themselves to you for solution. Everyday. Relentlessly. An entrepreneur’s learning curve is pretty much vertical and never ends. This makes business ownership an ongoing adventure, but it can be frustrating, making you feel like you are never getting anywhere. However, in the past year or so I have noticed that more and more people have asked me for advice on how to grow, start, or manage their business. Hmmmmmm.
This has caused me to look back and realize how much I have learned in the past decade, and wonder if maybe the support system I enjoy locally could be expanded on the web. Since I am generally focused on what I don’t know, I hadn’t taken much stock of everything I have learned. Maybe someone else can learn from my mistakes (there have been many) and my successes (which are soooo sweet), and I’m looking forward to learning from all of you how you have tackled various issues you’ve encountered. It is my vision that Chief Cook and Bottle Washer will become a forum for Small Business owners to share ideas and solutions and be a resource for those contemplating starting a business.
Just so we are clear here, when I say Small Business, I mean small. The United States government defines a Small Business as one having less than 500 employees, but I’m talking about those of us by ourselves or with a partner, maybe with a few employees, maybe not. But, basically the classic Main Street outfit with less than 10 employees.
I live in a rural area with no large employers nearby. Pretty much everyone, if they are not retired or sitting on a cushy trust fund, owns a Small Business. Some people have retail shops – the hardware store, an art gallery, others are professionals – physicians, attorneys, architects, many have service businesses, like landscapers, and some have invented jobs – generally Internet stuff that baffles me. This has created a great support system for business owners to share ideas and help each other solve problems. What about you? Whom do you go to when you need help?
In the meantime, sit back, hold on, and share the adventure…