My mailbox is filled with emails from friends and associates expressing anxiety over the current economic "slow-downs" in communities across America.
As a small business owner most of my life, even in good economic times the challenge has always been how to stand out in a sea of small businesses and creative thinkers.
I strongly believe that my success can be measured by the quality of life I have enjoyed over the years. There have been a few flops, some fabulous successes and then the fifteen or so years in between.
I started my first company at the tender age of ten years old. It was a "bread route" on the Wiesbaden Air Force Base Housing in Germany.
I remember watching an older kid carrying a bag of groceries for his mom and thinking I could do that. I had access to a wagon. . . I was strong and most importantly I had a captive audience in the housewives not wanting to carry heavy bags of milk, cheese and eggs in the hot sun.
I envisioned a new day and enjoyed great confidence that I was about to grow my fortune outside of the fifty cents allowance I was receiving from my father. My business plan was solid, the word of mouth was fabulous and I enjoyed instant success.
Back and forth I went, all day long, during my long summer break. Other kids played as I grew my business. I remember the thrill of counting my tips at the end of each week. I would lie on my bed, pour out the change and count the stacks.
My excitement as a young entrepreneur has lasted all these fifty-so years. The ups are easy, the downs-not so much!
As an entrepreneur, I take my freedoms and responsibilities very seriously. With such a hefty price tag for all this fun, I continue to challenge myself to indulge my fears and imagine the "worst case scenario". And then I snap myself back to reality and remember one simple truth . . . I could wake up dead and all this fun would have to end.
Now, at the end of the day, that doesn't mean all that much . . . but it does remind me that the simple practices that worked for me at age 10 can still be applied today.
I can continue to approach my business with the same passion, good work ethic and dedication to good and fair practices with each client or customer. I can accept responsibility for living within my means, I can develop a plan and "work" that plan every day. I can opt to network when the opportunity arises but I'm always prepared to put my own words and thoughts into action and trust my good business sense at the end of the day!