In honor of National Small Business Week 2018, I wanted to give a few examples of what small business represents:

  • A grandma retires and finally opens that little store she’s been dreaming of for 20 years.
  • A mom starts selling a product she is passionate about, and is able to pay for her son’s basketball league.
  • A dad decides to leave the corporate life, turn his carpentry hobby into a business, and is able to spend more time with his family.
  • A passionate high school graduate expands the little one-man landscaping business he operated during the summers.
  • A son rides along with his dad as he hands out fliers for his new restaurant.
  • Two friends decide to take the plunge and apply for a small business loan for the homemade jewelry business they want to expand.

This is what small business is all about. Small businesses are run by people just like you and me. They’re moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, friends, sons, daughters, aunts and uncles. They are normal people who took their dreams and passions and ran with them. They stepped in and buckled themselves in to the roller coaster of self-employment. They experience the palm-sweating, neck-thumping anticipation of making the climb, only to lose their stomachs on the fast-and-furious, winding turns. They may have stood in line for hours, watching the people ahead of them strap in and take the ride. They may have even reached the front of the line and chickened out, but eventually, when they finally make the decision to step in and buckle up, they go on the ride of their lives. They are real people, with real stories, experiencing the real thrill of owning a small business.

When you choose to support a small business, you are literally supporting someone’s dream. You are helping put food on the table for a family. You are helping a teenager earn enough money to buy their first car. You are helping a parent put their child through college. You are giving that mom the ability to stay home with her children. You are helping those friends turn their hobby into a business. You are encouraging the person who was terrified to take the first step and open their store. You are bringing life to an idea that someone jotted down in a journal 10 years ago. You are giving children an opportunity to witness their parents build businesses and teach them the value of hard work. You are giving that dad a chance to be home and shoot hoops with his son before dinnertime. Yes, you are doing far more than just making a simple purchase, you are helping change lives.

Think about that next time you see that car with a logo on the rear window, that Facebook post from your friend promoting her business, that flyer under your doormat. Those are more than just logos, posts, and flyers; they are small pieces of someone’s big dream.