A Love Letter To Some Special Entrepreneurs I Know
The end of the year is always a frenzy for small business owners. Clients are pressed to spend their year-end research budget so we’re typically hair-on-fire from the middle of November to year end. It’s also pop-up market season here in Detroit. And, I LOVE it. I revel in the myriad ways small businesses and makers market themselves and their wares. I thrive on their enthusiasm and limitless energy. That wave of optimism carries me through the chaos, recharged for another year.
Speaking of the new year, throughout my consultancy, I have been fortunate to work with two very talented repeat clients: Bauman Research & Consulting and Rivkin & Associates. My digital files are literally bursting with all the deliverables we’ve completed together. This year, Bauman Research & Consulting embarks on its 15th year in business! I wanted to take a minute to acknowledge what a big deal that is! 15 years seems like a millennia when you’re a small business. I have had the privilege of working closely with BRC for 12 of those 15 years. I am so proud of the team that Sandra has assembled and the amazing quality of interaction (and fun) we have.
In November, my other long-time client and friend, Steve Rivkin died from complications due to lung cancer. He has been ever present in my thoughts as his death has left such a void in my daily routine. Steve was a marketing communications and naming master and his high expectations for brevity are always in my mind when I produce reports. I think of him often when I’m looking for just the right image to accompany a post. I read at least three articles a week that I would’ve forwarded to him, to which he would’ve responded with a pithy remark. In January, I will take his LinkedIn account down permanently—something that feels very, very final.
My favorite holiday mart this year was at Ponyride—a makerspace that “provides social capital to a diverse group of artists, creative entreprenuers, and makers that are committed to working together to make our communities in Detroit sustainable.” I couldn’t help thinking that Steve would have loved that name—Ponyride—and the related associations that metaphor evokes. What a perfect brand for an entity that provides young businesses with a place to develop and evolve! Some of the entrepreneurs I most admire work out of that space including The Empowerment Plan and Playground Detroit (currently running a Kickstarter campaign to build a gallery/retail space and transition out of Ponyride).
So, as I find myself in end-of-year reflection mode, I am once again reminded to take frequent breaks from the frenzy to appreciate the people that are part of my daily routine, to cherish their unique contributions and all the ways in which they become integral to me. If you're not feeling the Ponyride in some aspect of your work or life, what small changes can you make in order to do so?