You've all heard the saying, "It's not personal, it's business". This saying encourages us to separate business from everything else in our lives, but for me, that just doesn't seem possible and here's why.
For the small business owner, their business is so much more than JUST business. Their business is their means to provide for their family, or it might be a dream that came to fruition after many years of planning. It might be a family business that has survived generations of owners and many changes. They may have invested their life savings to make this thing happen.
A small business experiences peaks and valleys that require the owner to commit no matter what and it's a very emotional roller coaster. A small business owner has poured their blood, sweat, and tears into their projects and there's so much that is personal underneath the layers. To them, their business represents risk, sacrifice, and vision. The truth is, it's not just business. It helps that I know this to be true because I'm a small business owner, too.
As a business that seeks to serve other local businesses, this is of the utmost importance to me. If we can't level with our fellow business owners about what their business means to THEM, we are providing a disservice. In many ways, I believe the job of a marketer cannot be properly performed without this mentality. If we don't know their "why", does the rest even matter?
I believe we must handle our small business owners with sensitivity, and expertise at the same time. Let's learn before we recommend. Lean in. Listen first and share solutions later. After all, what doctor writes a prescription before hearing the symptoms? That's called malpractice in their neck of the woods.
I believe the most important part of my job starts with one question.
"What does your business mean to you?"