PATIENCE: A Plea on Behalf of All Small Business Owners
“You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for.”
-- Craig Bruce
Over the last three to four months, the world has seen a series of shifts like never before. Everything is changing from the way we interact to the way we work, the way we worship, and the way we are educated. Particularly, this era of social awareness is unprecedented. Social media has become the eyes of the world as everyone looks to see how America, once again, will resolve its own internal struggles with diversity, inclusion, and economic fairness.
With this interesting backdrop of cultural history, another notable shift is taking place in regard to small businesses, particularly those owned and operated by minority and under-represented groups. These businesses are seeing growth driven by the interest of the masses to demonstrate more with their dollars than with picket signs alone. People are literally putting their money where their hearts and their mouths reside. And that’s a good thing!
With this shift, however, come growing pains that only small business owners can relate to. Being a small business owner myself, I can attest that this transposition, while great for business, has been difficult to navigate. Literally, within a matter of days, class bookings and sales increased up to 400%! Yes, FOUR HUNDRED PERCENT! While any business owner would celebrate such growth, I must confess that it’s concerning to see so many of the same people who support these businesses then turn around and complain when something doesn’t go their way.
Obviously, we all desire and deserve both quality and great service. But, let me make an argument on behalf of many, and based on my own observations. Until mere weeks ago, there has never been such a hunger to support minority-owned businesses. Within days, millions of Americans have made the choice to redirect their dollars and invest consciously rather than conveniently. Unfortunately, the many minority-owned and otherwise small business owners never saw this coming. They have been struggling, in many cases, with limited budget and assets, just to make ends meet. As such, few were equipped for the exponential growth that has quickly taken place. For the consumer, that means limited inventory, an occasional missed call, and sometimes a clerical error. Remember, most of these small businesses have not had the opportunity to gear up for the steep rise in interest or demand.
Once again, I'm not making an excuse for bad business. I am saying, though, that it’s nearly impossible to move from serving a base of fifteen customers per month to fifty, or from two hundred monthly orders to five thousand, within a restricted timeframe, and without notice.
So, what’s the solution? I would request that we all exercise patience and consistency.
Be patient when a mistake is made. Give that organization the opportunity to make it right.
Show some grace. Please don’t dismiss a business altogether because of human error. After all, almost every McDonald’s customer has received an erroneous order at some point, yet return business is never threatened.
Criticize privately, but celebrate publicly. Reviews matter, especially to a small operation. Let others know about your positive experiences.
Remember that you get what you pay for. Don’t assume you are being robbed just because a price may be slightly greater than that of a large competitor. Remember, small business owners generally don’t have the benefit of bulk order discounts. Their products are indeed more exclusive, and the price tag just may reflect the same. The more support they receive, however, the better prices will be over time.
Support consistently. When this “wave” moves on, those small businesses who have now invested in the infrastructure to serve a larger customer base will require CONTINUED support to ensure long-term success. Please, don’t let this be a fad. Rather, let’s work together to ensure it is a historical economic shift that will endure throughout history.
I am personally extremely grateful to God and thankful for every student and patron who has supported E3 Personal Defense and our many small business partners. We strive to provide the best quality possible. Even with our best efforts, we have made some mistakes. Nevertheless, we have also vowed to correct every single one of them. We’ve invested in software to streamline processes and make our customer service experience better. Even more, we continue to invest in people and partnerships to ensure we are able to serve those who need our offerings the most.
As you continue to support us, please continue supporting other entrepreneurs who are striving to strengthen communities throughout the country. Stand behind those who are forcing the “face” of success in America to become more diverse.
God bless you all!