(This post was originally published on SmallBizMke.com)
Sometimes the smallest gesture has the biggest impact. It’s like a tiny seed that grows into a sycamore tree. If small business owners allow that thought to guide their daily activities, I believe they can reenergize themselves during these turbulent times. They’ll discover they have more control than they thought. They might survive and even thrive.
Something happened yesterday which serves as an excellent example. Here’s how a little stone created ripples in a bigger pond:
While at Calico Corners (a fabric, furniture and interior design shop), I spotted on their front counter a brochure highlighting a small business called Optimist’s Bazaar. Intrigued, I held it up and asked if anyone knew anything about the bazaar. The two associates closest to me said yes; one of them explained the owner, Betsy Peckenpaugh, occasionally works with their staff. She added that Betsy’s shop was a wonderful place to visit.
I drove to the Wauwatosa bazaar on 106th & Bluemound and knew right away I wanted to help spread the word about this lovely furniture and home accessories consignment shop. Introducing myself as a writer for Small Business Milwaukee, Betsy and I spoke while I moved around, asked questions, and took photos. Here’s what she shared during our brief conversation:
- She recognizes quality.
- She chooses only quality, authentic pieces.
- Her curated collection features many eras.
- Her affinity for Asian style (or Chinoiserie) can be detected.
- Uncommon Walls, a Milwaukee interior design business, is also owned by Betsy.
- She’s been an interior designer for 20 years.
- She offered to keep an eye open for several pieces I’m looking for.
- …and, oh my goodness, she opened Optimist’s Bazaar in August 2020.
In writing this piece, I’m excited for two reasons. (1) I’m eager to help promote Optimist’s Bazaar; and (2) I can’t wait to go back to explore more and make a purchase or two.
With regard to the former, I’m doing it through my SmallBIZMke blog post. But that’s not all. The material I’m writing will also be parsed and spread out on our social media platforms and spotlighted in our digital newsletter. Optimist’s Bazaar will also be showcased on the website and social media platforms for my business, Kimmunitee, LLC.
Of course, all of us at Small Business Milwaukee are now aware of Betsy’s business. At every appropriate opportunity during meetups and networking events, therefore, we’ll mention Optimist’s Bazaar.
If you and other readers pass along the news I’ve just shared, then you, too, create ripples. Isn’t helping another small business owner a wonderful feeling? How would you feel if, out of the blue, someone suddenly shows up and asks if they could write and spread the word about your business gratis? Do you wonder if, because of this post, Betsy feels even better about her small business? Maybe a wee more in control? (She can see how her effort to get the brochure printed and placed in other businesses was worth the time and expense.)
It all started with one shop owner (Calico Corners) making a small gesture (making available brochures from the Optimist’s Bazaar), prompting my interest (promoting small businesses), leading to Small Business Milwaukee showcasing Betsy’s bazaar throughout its network, leading to…who knows what or where?
The fact is, ripples will continue long after this post is published. And that’s the point I want to make. Small efforts often create rich and unexpected results and it’s delicious to be on the receiving end of those kind gestures. Based on personal experience, it’s just as sweet (if not sweeter) to extend them. I plan to use my skills as a writer for small businesses to provide as much kindness this year as possible. It’d be great if you’d help, too. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to share a similar story.