This year marks the 54th year in a row that the president of the United States has declared a weeklong recognition of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. Organized by the Small Business Administration, this year’s Small Business Week will run from April 30 – May 6.
We understand the challenges and rewards of running a small business because we’ve been there ourselves. Fourteen years ago, while working at a large payroll provider, our four founders became discouraged by the lack of creativity and employee satisfaction.
They drew upon their industry expertise, tapped into their entrepreneurial instincts, and built a company that put the interests of their clients and employees first. And while our company has grown into a full-service provider of human capital management (HCM) solutions, we still hold onto the small business values of integrity, adaptability, accountability, and hard work.
One week seems too short of a time span to acknowledge all that small businesses contribute to the economy and their communities! But we’ll do our best to make the most of it. In the spirit of celebration, we reached out to a few of our small business clients to find out what makes them tick and thrive.
Hudson Display of Newark, New Jersey
Hudson Display is a family-run business that handcrafts Lucite/acrylic advertising displays. The team works closely with clients to create customized solutions that meet their needs.
We interviewed Eric Marin whose parents started the business over 30 years ago. While his father was working in New York City as a sample maker, his mom was planting roots in New Jersey, building a business for themselves. When the company his father worked for went bankrupt, he turned his attention to the family business, devoting himself 100%.
What is your role in the business?
Marin: I do a bit of everything (laughing).
What do you like most about running the business?
Marin: The face to face interactions with clients. It’s very satisfying when you are able to bring their creations to life – to make their design a reality.
How long have you been a client of Balance Point?
Marin: Since 2005. We were originally with a national provider, but it took forever to resolve a problem. We chose Balance Point because they’re like us, a company that prides itself on personal service.
What advice would you give a small business owner just starting out?
Marin: Plan ahead. Have a set goal. Make sure you have enough money to cover your personal and business life for at least a year. It’s best to use your own money instead of loaning from a bank.
Benjamin Brothers True Value of Tenafly, New Jersey
Benjamin Brothers has been a community staple since 1946. A full-service hardware store, Benjamin Brothers specializes in everything from paint, to lumber, to power tools and landscaping supplies.
The shop is rooted in history. The original Benjamin Brothers’ namesakes started out by running a lumber yard post WWII. The brothers established a carpentry shed which eventually evolved into a store. In 1962, they opened a larger store that’s on the property of the current location. The Benjamin Brothers True Value store in business today was built in 1974. It was gradually handed down to the Tether family who lovingly run it today. We had the pleasure of interviewing Sally Tether, daughter of Charles “Chick” Tether.
What are the biggest challenges of running a small business?
Tether: I’d have to say remaining current and relevant, a challenge especially in retail.
What are the greatest rewards?
Tether: Providing service to the community. We believe in being good citizens.
How do you compete against the bigger name companies?
Tether: With our staff. We have long-time reliable employees who know what they’re doing, thank goodness! They are the experts. They are able to anticipate customers’ needs and provide them with great service.
What advice would you give to a small business owner who is just starting out today?
Tether: To find your niche and realize the value of your clients and your staff.