This National Small Business Week has been an important time to reflect on the challenges small businesses have endured over the past year. In order to highlight the current state of small business, we spoke with six entrepreneurs from across the country about their experiences running businesses throughout the pandemic. You can read all about their perseverance below.
During April’s National Financial Literacy Month, we spoke with small business owners around the country about the challenges they’ve faced during the last year of business turmoil and how they’ve pivoted their businesses to stay afloat during the pandemic. These business owners have weathered many untenable challenges and are sharing their lessons learned and some best practices other small businesses can follow during this difficult time. Read on to learn about some of the key steps they took to overcome the challenges brought on by the pandemic.
Why shop small? Because $0.67 of every dollar you spend at a small business gets invested back into the community. For Jeff Rogoff, owner of Sazza in Greenwood Village, Colo., this philosophy holds true. At Sazza, not only are the pizza toppings and cheeses locally sourced but so is the silverware, tables, glassware and branded merchandise.
“Being mindful of our community, working with our community and being a part of our community is all very important to us,” Jeff says.
Most first-time business owners struggle to be profitable during the early stages of their business venture. But when you add a global pandemic into the mix, the chances of being profitable essentially go out of the window. This was the case for Nichole Jackson, a former educator who decided to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and become a restaurant business owner in 2019.
Entrepreneurship has been a way for many Americans to avoid unemployment throughout the pandemic. So, when Michelle Youngblood’s corporate office shut down with a round of layoffs, she realized this was the push she needed to launch her own brand, Brooklynn & Blake.
Johana Hernandez has been surrounded by fashion her whole life. Growing up, her parents worked in sewing factories in Los Angeles, which enabled Johana to learn all about garment design and the production of high-end clothing firsthand. In the beginning, making her own clothes was simply a hobby that Johana and her mother enjoyed doing together in their spare time, but soon it became a passion and her path to entrepreneurship.
Starting a small business may seem daunting for most people, but for those who take the risk like Tierra Henderson, it’s a matter of seeking mentorship and applying yourself.
Starting a business venture with a friend seems like something out of a child’s imagination, but it is the case for best friends Kristina Gutierrez-Carreon and Sheena Rosell. After deciding they wanted to create healthy food together using high-quality ingredients, they opened Fresh Cut Catering in 2014 in Chino, Calif.
After a trip to visit a friend’s son at a local pediatric ward left Kevin Gatlin disheartened, he became determined to make lengthy hospital stays more comfortable for kids and parents alike. He thought about how his kids utilize the limited space in their own bedrooms by playing games, doing homework and reading on their beds. From this point, Kevin let his imagination run wild and created Playtime Bed Sheets, interactive sheets to help keep kids entertained from the comfort of a bed.
When Alicia Villanueva moved to California in the early 2000s, she discovered the ways in which she could learn about different cultures through their native cuisines. And as someone who loves to cook and share her own culture, she worked for many years with her family to turn her passion into a real business. Today, Alicia is the proud owner of Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas, a catering company and food processor facility located in Hayward, Calif.