This week (May 4-8 2015) is “Small Business Week”, dubbed so each year by the sitting President for the past 52 years. With more than 50% of Americans owning or working for a small business, this seems like an appropriate nod to the hard work and innovation coming out of small businesses every day.
As a small business owner, I have to admit, this is a nice little week-long fiesta I’ve been invited to. Virtual high-fives from the Small Business Association, Twitter parties and nationwide events and promotions. It feels pretty good to take a week to celebrate the hard work we are all putting in to make our dreams a reality.
But I have a secret: This business is anything but small.
True, my sales stacked up against the industry leaders is meager. My office of 500 square feet doesn’t require a campus or cafeteria. My annual company picnic is held in my back yard with ease. And when I show up to work, Wall Street isn’t watching.
But my first Granola Bite batches were made in my kitchen while my toddlers sat in high chairs eating breakfast. Ingredients everywhere. (and you should have seen the mess I made!) My house has served as an office, warehouse, storage facility, conference room, and delivery location for the post office, UPS and FedEx. We even had a meeting with our insurance agent on the deck one summer while 4 three-year-olds ran around us. My children have been turned into cookies, coloring pages, buttons, stickers and cartoon characters. My husband has held down the fort while I’ve worked nights and weekends, handed out samples in new stores to new customers, gotten on 4 planes in 30 hours for one 20 minute meeting and put our savings into this dream.
When any of us make a sale, we celebrate. When we decorate our office, it’s with pictures of our kids. My work is a member of the family. My business partner and her family are my own. My co-workers are friends. We dream big and set lofty goals. We meet many of them. We believe in big things, including ourselves. There’s nothing small about this ride.
But I’ll keep that (mostly) to myself. I was never one to turn down an invitation to a party.