A few days back, a friend asked me why I spend so much time working with small businesses on their local internet marketing. His argument was that there is much more money to be made working with larger companies that have more money to spend.
Maybe, maybe not.
But to really answer the question, I need to tell you a little about myself.
Several years ago my wife and I were contemplating a move. We’d been living in the same area for a few years, and were ready for a change. We did the things people looking to move usually do … looked on the Internet, visited different areas, asked the people we ran into where they lived and what they loved about it.
For me, at the end of the day, something came through loud and clear…
The places I love the most are packed with unique, compelling, local small businesses. Amazing businesses and entrepreneurs that add flavor to their communities, provide meeting places for their customers, and that seperate their city or town from the endless drone of places every bit as charming as a drab, gray cubicle.
One of my mentors has spent years teaching small businesses how to make more money. He was very good at it, and, in turn, I became very good at it, too. In fact, there are few business growth situations I run into nowadays that I can’t fix in a jiffy. The solutions are just … obvious.
Anyway, my mentor and I had a very different perspective on why we do things:
He liked making the business more money, so the owner could go off and do what (s)he really wanted. Conversations like “I hate the X business, but as long as it keeps me on the golf course 5 times a week I can live with it” were common.
I’ve got a different take.
I love working with local entrepreneurs who love what they do and who they do it for, and who, completely freed from marketing and money worries, are free to transform their businesses into a no-limit dream. In the process … they add flavor … inject passions … and transform their customers and communities.
It gives me chills. Seriously.
So many small business owners get into business with big dreams and aspirations. To quote Steve Jobs, they want to “make a dent in the world” … even if their world is a little, local community they’ve come to know and love. But all too often, a year or two in, the economic realities of growing a business have “deadened the dream.” Instead of waking up passionate and enthusiastic about what is possible … they begin to wake with fears about what might be around the corner.
Being a part of making those fears disappear … a part of bringing the passion back … and, in my own way, contributing to the number of cool people doing cool stuff keeps me going day and night.