It will come as no surprise that I love small businesses. I love entrepreneurs and their willingness to take risks. I love the passion and drive small business owners have because it is the same passion and drive that helped me start and build my businesses.
This week, I’ve seen that love of small business shine through in the hundreds of nominations coming in for the Small Business Revolution – Main Street contest that Deluxe Corporation has started. Through the Small Business Revolution campaign, Deluxe and I are inviting business and civic leaders, along with small business patrons to nominate their favorite small town for a revitalization. The response has been simply overwhelming.
The concept is simple – pick one small town in America that needs a boost – a makeover if you will. Deluxe will invest $500,000 in time, material and business expertise to help the “Main Street” come back to life, continue to thrive or re-invent itself. I’ll be on hand to lend my business expertise to help local entrepreneurs re-discover their passions. We want to take these businesses to another level. The best part – the revitalization will be captured in an eight-part web series to be released this coming Fall.
During my career, I’ve learned a great deal about what it takes to run a business and make it thrive. I’ve learned from my mistakes and my successes. I’ve had the good fortune to be able to share what I’ve learned with small business owners around the world. Yet in the last year helping Deluxe with the Small Business Revolution, I’ve also learned the importance of community to the small business owner.
Community is defined in so many different ways. A small town’s main street of businesses is a community, the same way a business incubator in a big city is a community. Loyal customers make up the community of any one business and small business owners from every corner of this country make up a community of their own. I saw that when I attended the premiere of the Small Business Revolution documentary in Minneapolis last September, as business owners from across the country gathered to celebrate and honor their commitment to their chosen paths.
That passion has taken on a whole new level in the nominations for the Small Business Revolution-Main Street contest. From Maine to Kentucky to Minnesota and beyond, small business supporters are sharing their love of their towns as they seek to be finalists in this unique contest. The nominations are inspiring:
- “Over the last 12 years, I have seen impressive efforts to expand the downtown business district, driven entirely by small businesses.”
- “Our community needs help to reclaim its heritage by making our Main Street the heart of our great little city again.”
- “We are proud and want to bring people back to this community. We are trying, but need more help.”
Throughout these nominations is the underlying notion of community… of home…of connection. The economic meltdown of 2007 and 2008 didn’t happen in these communities, it happened TO these communities. Yet it was small businesses that dug us out and it is small businesses that continue to anchor our economic recovery. Now, in some small way, Deluxe and I are looking to help out one small town just a little more, to make that step forward just a little bit easier.
Join Deluxe and I as we strive to revitalize Main Street!
Nominations run through Jan. 28, at which point we will pick three finalist towns.
Get your nomination in now at www.smallbusinessrevolution.org/nominate.