Entrepreneurship: High Risk, Finding the Reward
If you want to understand the Lansing region, pay attention to the business community – more interestingly, the entrepreneurs. These are the people that believe so much in the area that they are willing to put it all on the line. It’s true. Entrepreneurs don’t explore the entire state, region or country to decide where to begin their businesses, even when they probably should.
These risk-takers value the community they reside in and strive to improve where they live. Hopefully, they have done enough research to be sure there is a market for their products and services before they are off and running. Thinking back on my original business plan and the research we did, I wonder what I would have done if the information indicated Lansing was not a solid area for my type of business. Would I have taken the risk anyway or moved in a totally different direction? I probably would have moved forward. After all, without risk there’s no reward, right?
Through the process of the Entrepreneurial Awards, I’m able to hear the story behind each business. Every company has a path that led them to where they are today and are all worthy of recognition. As many of you know, it’s the small businesses that employ the vast amount of our community members; sometimes we get hung up in paying attention to larger businesses and how they’re doing. Of course, they’re important to the economy and their investment is vital to an integrated mix of businesses, but they are not the only measure of a region’s success.
Michigan has 765,487 small businesses according to current federal data. These companies have leaders who know the pain of investing in a project or direction only to see it fail, hiring employees that leave to a bigger company who can pay more, missing benchmarks that looked promising, needing loans to bridge a gap in sales, hunkering down during a recession and dealing with bureaucracy and red tape when time is of the essence. They also know the amazing feeling of building processes that work, seeing the light in an employee’s eyes when they believe in the vision of the company, hitting and exceeding sales goals, and inspiring a community.
The winners of this year’s program inspire me. Our entrepreneur of the year, Rick Preuss, and his family has created something special in Old Town. They are a destination organization that took time and energy to grow. If you haven’t visited their Preuss Pets location, you’re missing out.
Support the smaller, local businesses in our community. They have been supporting this region for many years. It’s a win-win.
Be dynamic in all you do.