The general definition of this category of business can have any where from one to 500 employees, can earn up to $10 million annually, and cannot dominate it’s market nationally. With this definition in mind, these two words, “small business” are covering a lot of ground. Too much ground
The problem with this perspective is just that; it gives the customer an inaccurate perspective. We tend to think of the card shop on the corner as a small business and Target as a big business. We assume the differences are mainly well, smaller, but in every way; in the amount of product, employees, hours opened, actual square inches, amount of money earned and spent, etc, etc. While these things are true, there is a far wider gap between the card shop or waffle shop if you will and Target; there’s actually a great chasm between the two and not just in the amount earned, but how each of them operate all together.
Big Businesses have cash flow. I don’t mean it’s all about the money but initially it does has a heavy foothold in the start-up of any business. Target has the man power, money, and system set in place to open just about anywhere, be open at all hours, all holidays, with all the decorations up, and cameras, tags, sales racks, employees to handle the lines, accountants to handle the books, and all this is taken care of day 1 of opening a new store. These are all good things; makes for a nice shopping experience, but it also sets high expectations for consumers.
So when I go to the soup shop down the street and they’ve been closed the last 3x due to whatever their reasons are, I’m annoyed because, well, I expected them to be open. When I walk into the ice cream parlor down the other block and there’s only 1 employee behind the counter and a long line just to get a sample; I’m kind of impatient because well, I expect there to be more than 1 employee, and when we closed the week of Thanksgiving so we could work on our property and try to make our kitchen more efficient, I was super nervous we were going to anger customers because, well, I knew they would expect us to be open. Why so many expectations? Because we shop at Target, Macys, and Costco, and we dine at Red Lobster, Chipotle, Mimi’s Cafe. There’s nothing wrong with realistic expectations but it’s hard to apply them across the board. Let’s face it, all too often we apply these big business expectations to small business. Maybe you think I’m wrong, but if we don’t expect a small business to have as much inventory, why are we upset when they run out so fast? If we truly understand that a small staff is all the business can keep and folks call in sick and can’t get replaced at times, then why are we frustrated that the line is taking too long or my plate isn’t cleared in a timely manner? If we get that a small business owner works around the clock and they need time off for family so they close for a few days or decide to close early, then why do we want to write a review saying how unprofessional the establishment is for closing early?
I believe that the average consumer, unless you own a small business, you cannot understand the meaning of what a small business really is. And it’s not their fault, they can only compare and contrast against the big business that rule a lot of the nation. And perhaps the name is the first error, “small business.”
When you think of us, I’d like you to think of this, we are a itty-bitty tiny business. You may think we are bigger than we are because our business partner lives on Maui and it seems we have more than one location. But we are simply friends running two separate locations; both itty-bitty. You may think we’re bigger because the waffles are so tasty, but it’s not our divine recipe, it’s an old 16th century recipe and the Belgian’s just do it right; we just do our best to experiment with different ingredients that can intermix with the already great waffle recipe and I thank my 8 years working in high-end catering that helps give me good ideas as to what can go well together. You may think we’re big, but we’re not; we’re not even small; we are itty-bitty tiny.
And sure, we hope to get small and maybe even big but until then, please know that we, and every itty-bitty tiny business owner is working their tails off to create a beautiful product, engage you in a sweet experience, improve on all the shortcomings, and we just ask your patience and support as we grow.
Shout out to all my itty-bitty tiny business owner friends – here’s to thinking big =)