I’m grateful for some of Kansas City’s finest who shared inspiration and expertise with us from their entrepreneurial journeys throughout 2021.
And what better time than this season of reflection to package up some of the lessons learned from these small business leaders and incorporate their “gifts” into our businesses in the year ahead.
- Eat to Evolve owners Jason and Caleb Fechter: Never lose track of the bottom line, even when customers, production and daily fires demand your attention. The budget details matter.
- iResQ CEO Nick Crosby: Pivot and pivot quickly in the face of unexpected challenges, and your creativity may reward you not just with survival, but business growth in the toughest of times.
- K-Guard Heartland owners Travis Burch and Carter Clond: Fix the “leaks” in your small business by stopping everything once a month to identify your weakest point and improve it.
- Winco Fireworks president Mike Collar: Tap the experts you need to navigate complex business issues because their specialized knowledge teaches you better ways of getting the job done.
- Cherry Co. owner Thalia Cherry: Find your business niche so you can stand out (e.g., not just clothing but sporty clothing for women), gain a foothold in the market and then expand from there.
- Family Tree Nursery’s Jonah Nelson: Add more value, such as superior product quality and customer education, and gain a competitive advantage.
- Shatto Milk Co.’s Barbara and Matt Shatto: Know what customers’ want and deliver on that — in this case fresher, farm-to-table products — even if it means changing your entire business model.
- Growing Days Home owner Tamara Day: Follow the yellow brick road in business by moving forward on the path revealed by customer demand, such as furniture restoration projects leading to neighborhood furniture sales leading to whole-home interior design projects leading to a home renovation TV show leading to a retail store and national brand partnerships.
- Bison State Bank president Ryan Wiebe: Go for it! When you make a strategic decision for your business, don’t be timid. Within three weeks, you might just be negotiating a deal to buy a bank.
- Rieger & Co.’s Andy Rieger: Think long, because when you build a company right, you can expect a different pace of growth, one that methodically positions you for success over the long term.
- Allegiant Technology, Fluent Consultants, Goering & Granatino P.A., KC Web Design, Lever1, LimeLight Marketing, MAKE Digital Group, On Point Business Administration, PROOF Positioning, REAL Media, Sandler Training, and Trilogie: Success comes to those who master their crafts, and in added measure to those who generously share their expertise to help others succeed as well.
- Thinking Bigger publishers Brad Burrow and Evan Kirsch: It’s important to be great at what you do. It’s even more important to be great as human beings.
The challenges of the times we live in are real, and yet our community keeps rising to meet them, demonstrating the wisdom of the adage, “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.”
Keep it up, Kansas City entrepreneurs, innovators and dreamers. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next.
Chad Bettes is an award-winning writer and editor-in-chief of Thinking Bigger. He earned his master’s degree from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas.