As the Great Recession was coming to a close, Jason Bender and his partners decided that the time was right to bet on their business.
As so they did. In fact, they bet big.
The franchisees of an Outback Steakhouse restaurant, Bender, his partners, and his landlord went all-in on an expensive and dramatic remodel that included a contemporary new interior design, a new roof, new grills, a new point-of-sale system, structural changes, energy efficiency upgrades – the whole shebang.
The result: “Not only did we have record sales last year,” Bender says, “but since the recession we have added about 15 employees, bringing our total to around 60, and our customer service surveys are at an all-time high.”
The fact is, investing in your business doesn’t cost; it pays.
Of course, for many small business owners, this is counter-intuitive. Nervous about taking risks in a time of economic uncertainty, these entrepreneurs tend to hold back, wait, see.
That is understandable of course. For starters, according to the Kaufman Foundation Index, the recovery from this recession is unique in that while startup activity is on the rise, growth has been slow. As a result, not a few entrepreneurs are reluctant to invest in their business.
Additionally, generally speaking, the two main pain points for small business are time and money. Given that investing in one’s business requires both, it again is obvious why a small business person might hold back.
And yet, while that is true, it is even truer that small business owners are a breed apart. They are the dreamers and the doers – optimistic, hardworking, and enthusiastic.
Moreover, small businesses truly are the engine of the economy:
- According to the United States Census Bureau, 99% of all business in the U.S. is small business, and roughly half of all employees work for those businesses
- Small business generates 2/3 of new jobs (Source: Small Business Administration.)
According to SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, “If our small business sector was a country, its output would rank number three above Germany and Japan.”
It is that sort of can-do attitude – that entrepreneurial spirit – that will be celebrated during National Small Business Week later this year. Since 1963, the first week of May has been set aside to promote and honor America’s committed, risk-taking, savvy, smart entrepreneurs and the great small businesses that they have created.
Among other things, the SBA will be honoring the Small Business Person of the Year winners from all 50 states. These folks have all created different sorts of businesses and they all have differing skill sets, yet you can bet one thing they have in common is that they have been more than willing to invest in their own business when necessary.
Great small business owners believe in themselves.
Dan Pred sure does. Pred is the owner of Video Media in Portland, Oregon, a small video production company with national clients. “The nature of my work,” he says, “is that technology is always changing. While my clients probably don’t care if I have the latest and greatest equipment, I do. To do my best work means that I need to consistently invest in my business with things like new video cameras, still cameras, microphones, lighting, computers, hard drives, and even training. It’s expensive but it’s worth it.”
It is that sort of thinking that separates the best small business owners; they know that investing in their business makes all the difference. That commitment to excellence should be celebrated.
© 2017, The Strauss Group, Inc.