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Highlights from the #SFSBW2015 blog

PrintMany thanks to the small business owners, nonprofit organizations, and sponsors who contributed to the #SFSBW2015 blog. Here’s our highlight reel with some of the gems from our 2015 interviews.

What is it about running a small business brings you joy and satisfaction?            

“I love speaking to my customers and meeting them in person. It’s really great for me to see total strangers who know my story, support my brand, and volunteer as brand ambassadors because of their love for our products. We have customers from the very beginning who have seen Bread SRSLY through growth spurts and production changes – being able to retain them through thick and thin is the biggest compliment I could want.” – Sadie Scheffer, Owner, Bread SRSLY.

“At a larger firm, tasks are more and more specialized to the point where you are just one step in a process. It is harder to quantify the value of your actions in an environment like this. In a small business.” – Brian Tetrud, Owner, Ladera Granola.

“On the best days, the work feels like play, and it’s on me to maximize those play days.” – Kristy Lin Billuni, Owner, Sexy Grammar.

“I love seeing people interact with my shop, my product, and the environment I’ve created. We built our space with absolute intention–every inch was planned and every product is made by us in our shop. So when I see people take in the space for the first time and enjoy our product in our shop as it was intended, I get super stoked.” –  Lauren Crabbe, Owner/Founder, Andytown Coffee Roasters.

“The biggest thing of course is to know I call the shots. Also I make up my own hours, and don’t have to work a 9 to 5 job.” – Heklina, Owner of Oasis.

“Running a small business is largely about building relationships. I love that my job allows me to meet and work with new people from all walks of life. You really learn something from everyone you encounter.” – Rose Souders, CEO, Potluck Consulting.

What is one lesson you would like to share with small business owners—especially those who are struggling to change the way they do business in the current climate?

“Technology today—especially in and around our city—continues to provide unique and new ways to engage. We’ve made a point to engage with and utilize software, technology, and apps that contribute to our city’s changing marketplace.” – Taryn Taddeo, Director, Small Business & Strategic Partnerships, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

“While small business owners face challenges, the rewards are gigantic. While you must work incredibly hard, you have the freedom to decide how your business operates, how you will treat your employees and customers and what you will bring to the marketplace.”- Sharon Miller, CEO, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center

“There are a range of support organizations in San Francisco including business incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces and formal classes that can provide the technical assistance that small business owners may require.” – Monika Hudson, Assistant Professor and Director of the University of San Francisco’s Gellert Family Business Resource Center.

“You have to evolve and anticipate change, if not it’s too late to adjust once the business climate is different.  Also always keep your books solid–that’s old school business 101” – Patricia Rodriguez, Managing Member, SF Parking.

“Small businesses can no longer exist in a vacuum. They must be a positive part of their community, and they must work with local government, police and other agencies to promote responsible behavior.” – Ben Bleiman, Co-Chair, California Music and Culture Association

What is your company doing to help small businesses compete in today’s market?

“For small businesses, creating a digital footprint is critical but also complicated. There are many steps in the process, which can take time, and many entrepreneurs don’t have the marketing expertise to know what is right for their business. We partner with small businesses to develop tailored marketing programs that meet specific needs and budget.” – Matt Crowley, Senior Vice President, Sales, YP.

“CAMEO advocates on behalf of the smallest businesses (fewer than five employees) and the self-employed to make sure they have the capital and training resources that they need. Microentrepreneurs that have gone through business training programs and received business assistance and small loans from CAMEO members have an 80% success rate and create two jobs in addition to their own on average over 3-5 years.” – Claudia Viek, CEO, CAMEO – California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity.

“Commercial real estate prices are skyrocketing in the Bay Area, and small business owners who rent their spaces are at risk of being displaced. In today’s market, rents are liable to increase when your lease expires, or your lease may not be renewed at all. Companies that plan to be around for the long-term should consider owning their own real estate.” – Claudia Cohen, Senior Vice President, Capital Access Group.

“Businesses of all sizes are constantly seeking ways to do more with less and one way small and mid-sized companies can compete with large enterprises is through the use of cloud-based business applications. The cloud offers small businesses a chance to leverage sophisticated business software without the expense of buying and maintaining it and gives smaller, smarter players an opportunity to level the playing field against bigger competitors.” – Frank Ortiz, Director Small Business Sales, Comcast Business.

What is the most important belief or principle that guides your work?

“The belief is that small business is the backbone of our economy.  Small businesses account for over 90% of business in San Francisco.  They create jobs and employ our residents.  They are members of our communities and make up much of our neighborhood commercial corridors.  San Francisco would not be the unique and vibrant city it is without small business.” – Regina Dick-Endrizzi, Executive Director, Office of Small Business.

“Be straightforward and passionate about what you’re doing. Understand why you’re making the decisions you’re making and understand how a series of tasks helps you meet your goals. I’m inspired everyday hearing about the success stories of small businesses throughout California that are thriving and creating new jobs.” – Emily Shanks, Region Executive for the Small Business Banking, Bank of America.

“Teamwork and one voice will impact issues to help businesses be successful and grow.” – Henry Karnilowicz, President, San Francisco Council of District Merchants.

“We believe that manufacturing businesses are a critical element of the economic vibrancy and fabric of San Francisco, and most importantly, that they provide unique job opportunities for a diverse set of local residents.” – Janet Lees, Senior Director, SFMade.

“Do the Right Thing. We always try to set clear expectations for our users, create visibility into our process, and hold ourselves accountable. Improving the way San Franciscans interact with the government is a big goal, but we believe the Portal is a step in the right direction.” – Jane Gong, Program Director of the San Francisco Business Portal.

What are the trends you see when you think about the small business marketplace, and how will these trends shape the future of small business?

“On the broadest level, the continued push toward the paperless/online/digital future is obviously a major influence. Not only does it change how business gets done, but at a deeper level it changes expectations. Small businesses have to deliver to those same right-now, always-on, 24/7 access demands, with a lot fewer resources.” – Rich Grant, Executive Vice President of TMC Financing.