Hard work may be a badge of honor for small business, but given how it’s rewarded, it deserves more of our attention.
As an entrepreneur, it’s hard not to feel the effects of the changing business landscape. But it’s even harder to see how undervalued hard work is when we talk about the role of small business in our communities.
From the shopkeepers to the upstart brands like eu2be they curate, small business is big business in America—the backbone of the economy, with 32.5 million small businesses employing 46.8% of all U.S. workers.
These are real people who dare to enhance the quality of our communal experiences on our streets and online with their dreams and aspirations.
Not surprisingly, entrepreneurship is often the most accessible and pragmatic path to turn our visions into reality, financial independence, and prosperity for women, minorities, and immigrants.
Communities where entrepreneurship from these demographics are high have more of what the remarkably clever urbanist and activist Jane Jacob advised to be vital for creating vibrant cities—active sidewalks.
Studies repeatedly show that small businesses like eu2be punch way above our weight when it comes to giving back and investing in our local communities.
You see, while big corporations return financial gains to discrete shareholders, small business owners hold ourselves responsible to our most important stakeholder—you, dear customer.
Today’s communities are defined more broadly and extend beyond the places where we live.
These aren’t the ones built on diversity and active sidewalks, but on shared interests and emotions that are amplified by algorithms.
Instead of shops with all their beautiful idiosyncrasies, today’s town squares are built on digital platforms and social media—if you can afford the real estate—and are open 24/7.
Neighborhoods with active sidewalks are alive with random, authentic connections between diverse brands and people—not an easy interaction to realize in the digital world.
What’s more, sales that used to be made by shop clerks are now the realm of an army of influencers.
No matter the venue, customers and supporters are still the reason we do what we do because more than commerce is exchanged in the course of our doing business. Stories are shared, ideas are nurtured, and friendships are made.
Entrepreneurial businesses make significant contributions to the complexity of human lives in diverse communities.
In addition to providing jobs and paying taxes, we sell our cleverness in the form of unique and necessary goods.
It’s not a stretch to say that in the commerce of cleverness, we work more for the satisfaction of our labors rather than just for monetary reward.
We delight in our ingenuity and creativity, which can be seen everywhere if you dare to look.
These human payoffs are important for brands and consumers.
If you agree there’s real value in supporting small business entrepreneurs, here are 10 ways you can make a difference:
- Choose to shop small and visit your local brick and mortar small businesses
- Dine locally at chef-owned, family-run, dreamer-founded restaurants
- Visit your local farmer’s market and support your local CSA
- Attend events by your local stores and businesses
- Share this post with a friend who may delight in our stories
- Like and follow our socials
- Add your comments to the conversation on Instgram—and tell the almighty algorithm to increase our reach!
- Tell just one friend about eu2be this week
- Keep reading our emails and stories—your clicks and attention confirm the value of our labors
- Send me an email to share your thoughts or questions directly!
One last thought: You’re not paying more to shop small, you’re investing big in what we value, because small businesses make our neighborhoods—both online and IRL—more interesting and worthwhile.
Let’s make sure their labor has more than a passing moment by championing the work we value when and where it matters.
May you experience purpose and reward from your labors—with deep gratitude for making these emails ones you actually pause to read.
eu2be founder/ceo Charla Jones
Join our Instagram community—and check out my related post on why I use the C-word (conspiracy) to expose how we value hard work.
Photo: Charla snapped that shot of the hardworking shop owner extraordinaire Joanne Rossman of Joanne Rossman in Roslindale Village.