Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What Is "Ditch the Dusty Widget?"

It's no secret that small businesses fuel our economy. In "The Small Business Economy" (December, 2006) the Small Business Administration (SBA) reports to the President that:

...of the nearly 26 million firms in the United States, most are very small—97.5 percent of employer and nonemployer firms have fewer than 20 employees. Yet cumulatively, these firms account for half of our nonfarm real gross domestic product, and they have generated 60 to 80 percent of the net new jobs over the past decade.
The number of women and men who change their status from "employee" to "self-employed" is pretty substantial, too ~ more than 10% of Americans are now self-employed. And, according to the same SBA report, that percentage is growing.

The temptation is great: as employers raise their time demands, real pay levels off, benefits shrink, and commutes grow more expensive and time-consuming, it's no surprise that many people will decide to take the plunge into starting and operating their own small businesses.

I'm one of them.

With more than a decade of diverse workplace experience in marketing, sales and project management, I, too, have decided to become a small business owner.
Tara M. Bloom Communications is my consulting firm that specializes in meeting the marketing & communications needs of smaller small businesses.

With my recent decision to be self-employed, I took on the headaches, joys, hassles, and adventures of being a business owner. From figuring out my own "unique selling proposition" to finding the best bank to meet my needs, I'm following in the footsteps of thousands of others who have traveled this way before, and thousands more who will follow in the future.

And on my way, I see that this path is rather well-worn. For every question I have, someone has the answer. For every roadblock I encounter, someone else has already found a way around it (or over it, or through it). With every discovery I make, I realize that others have already figured out what I’m seeing for the first time. It's only a "discovery" to me.

I'm grateful to everyone who is teaching, advising, sharing, mentoring, and encouraging me along the journey. Without their help, this already challenging undertaking would be even more daunting. In turn, I'd like to leave some bread crumbs along the trail for you ~ my fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners.

In "Ditch the Dusty Widget," I'll share stories of my successes and mistakes, ideas and tips, resources and recommendations for small business owners, with a particular focus on marketing and sales. As I live in Oregon, some of my information might be geographically specific. Other insights and stories, however, will be quite universal and useful to small business owners throughout the country.

Think you might want to fly solo, too? Start off by taking this quiz,
"Checklist for Starting a Business" (also from the SBA web site). Share your results with me here or leave a post if you'd like help with your next steps.

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