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Small Business Tips

September 10, 2021

Lessons Learned from Season 6 Small Business Owners


Starting a small business is no small feat and is often accomplished through trial and error. We asked each featured business owner from Season 6 for their advice on building and sustaining a successful business.


On having a mentor

“When you start to plan on the things you want to do, it’s good to have someone that knows the road you’re on,” recommends Tracey Williams-Dillard, of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.

Tracey emphasizes the importance of having a business mentor—even better if they’ve walked in your shoes before and can provide guidance and share their previous successes and mistakes.


On starting over

It’s important to remember that not every small business or venture will succeed, which is part of being an entrepreneur.
“If you work hard and are consistent and things still don’t work out, it’s okay to pick things up and start over again,” said Sammy McDowell of Sammy’s Avenue Eatery.


On networking

“Networking is what gets your business to keep going and flourishing,” advises Tameka Jones, owner of Lip Esteem.

Networking can help expand your business’s ability to find new customers and create connections you might not otherwise have. You never know where your network will lead you.


On having patience

 As a small business owner, you’re likely to hope to see success early on, and sometimes that desire can lead to quick action. But sometimes patience and enjoying the process are key to building a successful business.

“We want things to happen right away and when they don’t sometimes, we get deflated or defeated, just have patience,” recommends Terrel Smith of Gentlemen Cuts.


On making the right connections 

As a small business owner, making the right connections can have a major impact on your business’s bottom line. Beyond just networking, it’s also important to build relationships within your community.  Charles Carter of Taste of Rondo mentioned that getting to know your community is the most important step when starting out.

“Go to your neighborhood development…talk to your city councilor, start there first,” says Charles.


On helping your business grow

A baker likely doesn’t start a bakery with the hopes of overseeing human resources and payroll. But, as a business continues to grow, it’s easy to lose focus on the “fun” part and the reason you started in the first place. This is why it’s important to surround yourself with a team that has different strengths, skills, and interests.

Tetra Constantino of Elsa’s House of Sleep stressed that playing to your strengths will help your business. “Focus on the part of the business that brings you joy and that in turn will help the business grow.”

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