Each American small business has a unique story. Their own aha moment, the day they decided to take the leap, the idea they have that turned into a business plan and then a business. They hang their shingles from coast-to-coast, both in brick and mortar stores and virtually. While many of our reasons to begin, and the businesses that we build our lives and financial futures on may vary, one thing that the Capital One Spark I Am Small Business Proud campaign has shown us, is that many of the other parts of our stories: the work ethic and seemingly endless reserves of energy required to make a business survive and thrive; the passion and excitement that keep us going; the desire to innovate and make industries as well as lives of others better; the things that keep buzzing and the things that help us persevere, those core feelings and values are often the same, and represent a shared thread amongst us all that ties us all together. That familiarity in another entrepreneur’s story, even if their business is nothing like our own, is why we gravitate towards and celebrate with our fellow small business owners. In fact, the feeling we get when we hear amazing stories like those we’ve followed on the #SmallBizProud tour were what drew us at Tin Shingle to the campaign in the first place.
California brings us even more businesses doing just that. Entrepreneurs whose companies couldn’t be more different from each other on the surface including the two we’re sharing today: a pipette company and a green auto body shop. That said, when you watch and read about each of their stories you see that they share, at the most basic level, the same story.
Pipette: San Diego, California
Meet Alex Spector, founder of PIPETTE, a pipette and calibration company based in San Diego. An immigrant entrepreneur from the Ukraine, he came to America with his young family and started working for a company like his. Within three years, Alex left to start his own business, where today even his mother and father work! “This country provides you the opportunity to be successful, regardless of what you do.” These days the three of them don’t work alone – he has about 30 employees working along side him and along with the growth of his team, their company has grown to 30,000 customers globally, many who came thanks to word of mouth. Alex has a phiolosophy about how everyone makes money and grows the economy,
- Be consistent, zealous and meticulous in what you do.
- Help other people help you.
- Seize opportunities (this country is full of them)
- Let innovation drive your company.
- Really focus and hone in on what you do, and do it really well.
- Try to run your business so that everyone is successful and “wins”, you and your customer.
Hear it from Alex himself, and gain a reminder of why being an entrepreneur in America is so rewarding!
Selecta Auto Body: San Fransico, California
The story of J.R. Hubbard and his eco-friendly body shop (one of the only green body shops in the nation) took off after he applied for and received a SBA loan to move his shop into a space he and his team completely renovated. It was during that renovation that he made the decision to “go green” with the building, which ultimately set him apart from most of his competitors. J.R. is not only unique in his service, but in the way that he is so transparent with his story, revealing both the good and the bad. You’ll appreciate J.R.’s open honesty about living with the fear we’ve all felt about paying bills, overhead and our employees. He openly admits that it’s difficult business-wise and emotionally to make something like this – a small business – “happen”. Yet despite all of the ups and downs, at the end of the day or in the quiet of the morning before work, he looks around at what he has done and feels pride, happiness, and is overcome with the feeling of “I did this…with the help of a gazillion people, but I created this.” He created a company that does good, that innovates, that takes care of its customers and its employees…No matter what you create you can probably relate to that feeling of pride, which tends to trump every other less wonderful yet unavoidable feeling that comes with running your own business. Watch J.R.’s story and you’ll see your journey through his story, and all that comes with it.
Capital One Disclosure: The #SmallBizProud content series is sponsored by Capital One Spark. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Capital One.