Many of us take the opportunity at year end to look back and reflect on the positive, the negative, what we wish we had done differently, and what we plan to do in the coming year. This time, as I was thinking about 2009, I couldn’t help but think even further back through this past decade. There have been a number of extraordinary challenges over the past several years, but during all of those challenges, I have consistently found small business owners to be sources of strength, optimism, and resilience.
When I first realized the meaning of resilience, it was from the small business owners in Battery Park City (a community located the few blocks south of the World Trade Center), where I was living 2001. I noticed that although very few people remained in the area that Fall, the local, independent video store was open for business. “People need movie rentals now more than ever,” the owner told me. The nearby independent pharmacy likewise re-opened, while many chain stores were closed. And, when the owner of a neighborhood restaurant held a holiday open house, he told me that he recognized the role he could play in “helping people re-connect with each other and the neighborhood.” It was then, as I recognized the commitment of the small business owners to the community, that I made a personal commitment to support them in return.
Over the past several years, this commitment turned into a passion, one made even stronger during the recent recession. It seemed like no matter how bad the economic news has been, I have been able to look to business owners like Rebecca Cenni of Atrium Staffing, Sharon Brown of EEOC, Bill MacDonald of KolMac LLC, David Benaym of Movmnt Magazine, Paul Rosenfeld of FanMinder and others – and find inspiration and optimism.
Their resilience – and yours – inspires all of us at OPEN, and we constantly look forward to hearing from you. The desire to share your stories with others was what started me writing this blog earlier this year. Now, with my last article of 2009, I say “thank you” to all of you on OPEN Forum. We appreciate the ideas you’ve shared with us and each other – reminding us daily that the best place to find inspiration and optimism during touch times is still among small business owners.
I also thank our incredible contributors – Guy, Anita, John, Scott, Jill, Henry, Adam, among many others – your insights and advice have informed so many incredible stories of resilience. And our partners and the OPEN Forum team – we have the most dedicated and talented group of people I know without whom OPEN Forum would not be possible.
Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year. Let’s all toast the resilience of small business… from the decade behind to the decade ahead.
If you have story of resilience you’d like to share, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @marcyshinder and OPEN Forum via @openforum.