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An Ode to Small Businesses

To the small business owners, founders, entrepreneurs, whose real job title is doer of a million things and fixer of all problems.

You don’t have millions of dollars from investors because of your hip  dog-walking-app-for-global-trotters. Nor did you invent super-cool electric-flying-car-bicycles with lasers. No, you built an every-penny-counts small business.

You cook, you clean, you help with bookkeeping, you repair cars, you teach classes, you fix leaky sinks and broken furnaces. You ship furniture, wholesale paper, clean teeth, heal pets and paint walls.

Your days never end, and weekends bring only the temporary relief of catching up on more work. You eat dinner, hug your family and then you get right back on your workstation to answer more emails from your customers. They may be demanding, but you remember the time when there wasn’t any. You’re so glad that there are some now so you treat them well.

You don’t bother asking the banks for money, they only lend when you don’t need it. You borrow from family, friends and you max-out the occasional credit card. You grind it out, power through and find a way to make it work.

You have no bargaining power, but that doesn’t mean you don’t try. And when that giant company treats you terribly, you don’t hesitate to tell them so. You may be a tiny fry, but unlike their cushy monopoly, you’ve had to work hard for every dollar and they shouldn’t take it for granted (even though you know that they do).

You watch from the ground as the privileged and reckless get bailouts and tax cuts. Your only bailout is rolling up your sleeves and trying again.

You want to succeed, to feel proud of what you’ve built from nothing, despite the setbacks and the unfair playing field. You want to help your community and create a great place to work. You want to feel secure about your future, but you know you have what it takes to jump right back in if the going gets tough again.

And when it works, the politicians tout your success as if it’s their own. But when was the last time they had a sleepless night because of unpaid bills? You had to figure out how to manually calculate payroll and navigate those business licences, what do they know of what it takes to succeed at this craziness that is entrepreneurship?

So here’s to you, wearer of many hats, rebel of the class, and builder of small businesses. What you do is really difficult and sometimes thankless, but remember that you are not alone. There are millions of you, and you create millions more jobs. The majority of the jobs, actually. You’re the heartbeat of the economy, and it comes from long hours and hard work. But in the end you make the world go around, so thank you.



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