It’s my mission in life to make you think and come out better on the other side! Small business. It’s what I am and who I work with. It’s what I think about (professionally) a lot of the time. When small businesses are healthy and thriving, my own small business fairs better. When small businesses are sliding in the gutter, it’s also my job to work with them and improve their online presence and processes. (Coincidentally, in some cases it involves changing offline processes as well.)

Build a better lemonade standDoes having a successful small business mean being able to supplement your family’s income or BEING your family’s income? Help grow a community and provide a livelihood for your employees? Or maybe it has something to do with the thrill of building something successful and worth value to others? Could it be all about getting out of ‘corporate’? For some it could be the value you provide back to a community? Even a good deal of non-profits fall in the small business category, although some might not think of themselves as a “business” (+Marc Pitman is my go-to guy for all things non-profit).

Now, of course I have another point to this conversation-starter… how do you determine which small business you do business with? Do you go strictly on price/cost? Does quality have any (or no) bearing on your decisions? How about customer service? What about how they treat their employees? Do you lean to the small business that came from a great referral? I’m sure most people could answer ‘yes’ and ‘it depends’ to most of those questions.

My bigger question here is – do you shy away from businesses that practice in a way that isn’t good for the community or their employees and their families? Do you care if the accountant you hire is outsourcing most of the work to another person and paying them $2 an hour (which is WELL below minimum wage in my country – so yes, I understand US$2 is a ton of money in some countries)? How much due diligence do you perform?

Lots of questions and ideas in my brain this morning as I finish up final touches on my own book Google+ for Small Businesses( – preorder!!) and work on some social media and business development work for a few new clients.

In the meantime, think about what it means to YOU to be a successful business and what it means to give your money to a small business. Ok? Good! More lemonade coffee comin’ right up!