Edged in pink with fanciful lettering, a sign I recently found declares: “When you support small business you are supporting a dream.” That little statement sent me on a journey of memories that most small business owners share.
No one becomes an entrepreneur by saying, “Ho hum, I think I’ll start a business today.” It starts with a dream - a vision, an excitement, a hope, and a lot of prayer. As that dream unfolds you can’t sleep at night as the thoughts and ideas swirl through your head. You go through reams of paper plotting a course of action. You fill out legal paperwork, get permits, and tape paper on the windows of your store so no one can peek. You order, plot some more, and work long hard hours getting your space ready and perfect for the public. And, boy do you hope the public actually crosses the threshold. Paint is slapped on walls, displays are added and merchandise lines the shelves and walls. Your counter is perfect and the new cash register gleams.
By opening day you have trained employees, contacted the media, made signs, and alerted all your friends and relatives. You tear the paper from the windows, take a deep breath, and pray that it works — that your dream won’t become a nightmare. You have such vision. You want to be the kind of store where people don’t just shop but make and meet friends, a warm and lovely gathering place that blesses people and contributes to the community. You don’t desire to make enough money to travel around the world, but enough to not worry about bills and maybe travel to someplace exotic like Fargo. What you really want is to make people happy, to help them find the perfect item in your store.
Your dream... all those plans, those flights of fancy, those hours of hard work, those imaginings... all of it comes true the first day of business, the first time that door opens. “Welcome!” you say with a smile and a bit of trepidation, and it all starts to unfold.
Nov. 25 is Small Business Saturday. Please support your local dreamers.
Local author and artist Jan Thacker is a partner in Red Door.