I was very honored to learn that I was awarded the 2018 Small Business Champion of the Year award by the Small Business Administration. A celebration honoring local SBA winners from Washington state and the SBA Seattle District – which serves the state of Washington and northern Idaho – will be May 3, 2018, during Small Business Week. Other SBA local awards will also be recognized at the celebration including Small Business Person of the Year, Small Business Exporter of the Year, Encore Entrepreneur of the Year, Family-Owned Small Business of the Year, Millennial Entrepreneur of the Year and Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year. All of these entrepreneurs give of themselves every day for their businesses, communities, employees, and families.
Although I’ve been an entrepreneur or working with them for over 25 years, I never cease to be amazed by their generosity, perseverance, and ingenuity. They are truly the backbone of our economy and provide 60-70% of all jobs – depending on which statistics you look at. Not all small businesses become big ones, but all small businesses provide jobs and opportunities for so many.
Entrepreneurs are the ones who put everything on the line for their business and families. Unlike CEOs of publically traded companies, they will never walk away with a multi-million-dollar severance package when they leave, even when they’ve done wrong. Those CEOs don’t risk their livelihood on a daily basis and for them, it’s a job, or a stepping stone to something else and employees are often an afterthought.
Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are gamblers and risk takers. They pour money, blood, sweat, and tears into their businesses in the hope that it takes off. They forgo a salary when cash flow is tight and there is often not a payday at the end of the day. They work crazy hours and if they are lucky, their businesses grow. They usually put their employees first and truly care about them and the opportunities they can provide to them. They celebrate their employees, their customers, and their communities.
These are just some of the reasons that I am so thankful that over the years I have had the privilege to work with hundreds of these special entrepreneurs. Each unique in his or her own right and all brilliant at what they do. I have been able to be a fly on the wall of these amazing businesses and help them define their leadership role as well as strategy. Of course, they always know the best way to do it, they just don’t know they know!
Thank you to the SBA for recognizing my work, but mostly, thank you to each and every entrepreneur I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with to help them achieve their dreams. My work is really for and about you.