Last year around this time I blogged about the impact of small businesses in our communities. Read it here: What's Big About Small Business
“There’s nothing small about small businesses. To a small business owner, everything we do seems BIG; in fact it’s HUGE. Many of us start as solo entrepreneurs with just an idea or a dream. It may take years before that dream manifests into a “real” business.“
In my case, it took half my lifetime to start Pat's Granola. The path definitely wasn't a straight line nor was it crystal clear as to how I would open a business.
Pat’s Granola Signature Parfait
What I learned from creating food for my family over many years, I was able to turn this skill into something bigger. With the help of family. friends, and advisors I opened a business.
I recently say on a panel before the 26th graduating cohort of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program in Cleveland. We spoke about the benefits of what coaches and advisors can bring to a business. I shared my experience that the people you select to advise or coach you can be integral to how you run your business. And the best counsel may not be who you think!
Beth Gantz, Advisor, SBDC, Lorain County Community College, Pat Bennett, President, Pat’s Granola and Howard Kass, Advisor, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses.
Case in point. It’s not always the person who agrees with you that brings the most value; rather, it just could be a person who tells it to you straight or doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges of business ownership who could be your best supporter. Beth Gantz, an advisor with the SBDC at Lorain County Community College joked that she’s been called a “dream crusher” because she’s blatantly honest about the challenges facing a small business owner and doesn’t hold back about telling it like it is. She’s able to do this based on her years as an advisor and a business owner. In every conversation I've had with Beth, she listens intently, asks lots of questions and processes the information. More times than not, Beth is a sounding board and helps me flesh out ideas and strategies which may or may be viable. I've come to rely on her expertise which hasn't steered me wrong.
As I grew into my business, I’ve strategically added people whose opinions I respect and who can bring genuine value as advisors, confidantes and allys. Certainly, people in the food space, and surprisingly people in other fields, including manufacturing, finance, marketing, operations and Human Resources are part of the village I lean on for support and guidance.
Business ownership isn't for the faint of heart. However, there are people and organizations that are there to help you.
Pat Bennett is the founder and President of Pat's Granola, a Cleveland based food and collaborative lifestyle brand. Pat's Granola is sold online at www.patsgranola.com and is also available at select Northeast Ohio businesses including:
Troubadour Coffee Roasters www.troubadourcoffeeroasters.com
Sports and Spine Physical Therapy www.sportspine.com
Locle Box www.loclebox.com
Made Cleveland www.madecleveland.com
Nature's Oasis Lakewood www.naturesoasis.com
Happy Cows Group Share Happy Cows Group Share
Sweet Bean Candies Sweet Bean Candies
The Bake Shop and Cafe The Roaming Biscuit
Marketwagon NEO MarketWagon
The Corner The Corner at The Van Aken District
NEW! Farmers Feast at BottleHouse Brewery & Meadery
Pat's October 29 appearance on New Day Cleveland
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