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We’re Independent… Not Small

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Over the course of my life and career, I feel blessed to have met countless amazing people and have exchanged numerous concepts on the history of ideas, our creative processes, relationships, spirituality, politics, and of course, business strategies. In recent years as we (that “we” being “me”) push through our middle ages (I am turning 55 next year!) and through this “new economy”, our focus tends to get manipulated by the latter of these discussions.

Small business entrepreneurs that I have brainstormed with over the past 30 years have an infectious vision that knows no bounds, they dream the big dreams uninterrupted by an analyzer’s wicked calculator, they stand tall, overcome adversity and often succeed at positioning their company(s) at the next level. And without too much celebration, they reestablish another five-year plan and push forward… they are the builders, motivators, innovators and unifiers of Canada. Their perseverance, drive and ambition reminds me of climbing over the “Marathon Wall” which I hit in my first Vancouver Marathon (2010). As I approached 30 km into the race… Running up this low gradual hill out to Spanish banks, the build up of lactase acid was turning my legs into cement, my Iliotibial (IT) band in my right shorter leg was screaming and I’m frustrated, scared, alone so I stopped and stretch my IT band, endure the pain and kept going… then, there at the top of this very low long rise, my past late client, Roger Girard, a very successful businessman hands me a glass of water… and a big encouraging smile…

Wow…This must be a “Sign”…

So I just keep repeating to myself… I can do this… I‘ve trained for this. I’m ready and I push on, pray, sweat, swear, visualize Sidney Crosby scoring the Golden Goal for Canada with the song “I Gotta Feeling” blaring in your mind over and over again (as my iPod broke after the first hour!).

Then all of a sudden… boom I’m transported to the Burrard Street Bridge for the last kilometer, I start giving cheering fans high fives with tears swelling in your eyes I cross the finish line… victory at last and my family greets me to share this accomplishment (PB: 3:59)… what a life-changing moment, and to me, that’s the same journey as running a small business…

I salute the independent small business entrepreneurs of Canada (85% of businesses in Canada have 5 or less employees). We all celebrate the journey, overcome obstacles and press on to the next race, next challenge, the next big dream.

In a meeting a few years ago, we were advised that this particular target audience we are focused on, would not like to be referred to as “small” as in “small business”. But rather these entrepreneurs like to be referred to as “independent”; as it’s not about the size of your organization – it’s about your desire to be “independent”, risk takers, visionaries, mavericks, family-driven and a little bit obsessive.

We not only live our lives through our businesses (logging hundreds of more hours per month), our business, like our sports teams define us, and we define them (Roar, Lions, Roar!). Whenever I visit family and friends it’s “How’s Business”, “What are you Working On”, “What New in Media (Technology)”, their eyes light up and await our response. These are our cheerleaders and they are the wind at our backs.

As independent businesses, we see a thirst for knowledge in one another’s skill sets, adaptability and intellectual and emotional intelligence… We become “mavens” who wish to transfer our knowledge to make “change for the better” and yes, for mutual and financial success.

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