What I Learned From The Founders Of "Small Business Revolution"

What I Learned From The Founders Of "Small Business Revolution"

Last week, in a wonderful conference in Manhattan, I had the opportunity of meeting and learning from two extremely successful entrepreneurs, business owners and caring individuals who with their expertise are helping change America. In their newest eight-episode series, Small Business Revolution, Amanda Brinkman (Deluxe Corporation) and Robert Herjavec (Shark Tank) set out to revive one small town – chosen by the public – in the U.S. This leading season’s town of choice was none other than Wabash, Indiana. The inspiring web series tells the story of the wonderful, hardworking people Brinkman and Herjavec met and the challenges they faced while helping them grow their businesses. After giving us a first look at their newly launched series, the powerful duo gave us their thoughts on business as a whole, and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur today. Here is what I learned:

Be Receptive To Feedback & Willing To Change

When they first began their journey into Wabash to provide aid to small local businesses, Brinkman and Herjavec ran into a sweet family bar that although known and loved by the locals, did not have anything a small business needs to succeed, such as a logo, branded packaging, a website or even menus for customers to look through! The duo proceeded to educate the owners on the importance of advertising, design and appropriate branding – thankfully, everyone was extremely receptive, appreciative and flexible, all which are powerful signs of an intelligent entrepreneur.

“There’s nothing wrong with small town charm, but to run a successful business, you need big city mentality.” – Robert Herjavec

Realize The Importance Of Technology

For any business, whether it is a bar, a boutique or a lightbulb factory, having an online presence is essential, mostly because in Amanda Brinkman’s words, “every business today is a technology business”. No matter what your company focuses on, it also must exist online and be optimized for mobile, desktop and tablet, as well as have a powerful presence on social media.

Know That There Is Always Opportunity & Room For Success

One of the struggles that Brinkman and Herjavec ran into when attempting to help these local businesses was the fact that many of the owners felt belittled by their current situation. They did not believe that they could run a successful business because of their remote location, their background, their upbringing, and simply the fact that they were not born into wealth or based in a large city. It’s a common mindset in small towns, but one that has no reason for existing, for everyone and anyone has the opportunity to succeed if they truly want to. 

“When we chose to help these small businesses, it was not because we want to invest in bringing more large corporations to the U.S., but because hard work is what runs America, and that is what these entrepreneurs are made of.” – Robert Herjavec

Learn Your Numbers

Another issue the powerful pair ran into was that many, if not most, small business owners simply did not understand accounting. It’s a problem most entrepreneurs encounter when first starting their business, as people often find it scary or intimidating. But knowing the language of business is essential to making your company grow.

Hire A Team & Learn To Ask For Help

Hiring people that are better than you in certain fields, is key when trying to build a strong team to help run your company. In the beginning stages of any business, your support group, team and community are responsible for a huge part of your company’s growth, and it is them that will help you reach a much broader audience. Hiring employees and contributors will be an investment, but – thought you may not initially believe it – you cannot run your business alone. Living in NYC, it’s hard for us to see it, but the reality is that most people WILL want to help you, if you ask. 

“If you don’t adapt, you will die. Sharks always adapt.”

– Robert Herjavec

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