Running a small business can be both a lonely and fraternal experience. It’s lonely in the sense that no two small businesses are the same. Every entrepreneur has to deal with a unique set of circumstances and factors that are specific to their business. On the other hand, it’s fraternal in the sense that small business owners stick together.
The communal nature of small business ownership is what keeps many entrepreneurs going when times get tough and the forecast begins to darken; it’s also what inspires entrepreneurs to share information with their peers willingly, as opposed to selfishly safeguarding their principles of success.
As a small business owner — or at least someone with an entrepreneurial mind who one day hopes to launch a business — there’s tremendous value in immersing yourself in the small business community and studying those who are experiencing positive results. Here are some small business success stories that provide insight into how making key decisions and sacrifices has helped these entrepreneurs grow their business.
Page One Consultants
In order to be recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), you have to be doing something right. Since Sheryl Page, president, and CEO of Page One Consultants in Orlando, was named Woman-Owned Small Business Person of the Year by the State of Florida SBA in 2017, a lot of people have started to look at what she’s doing and how her company has become so successful.
Page, who runs an engineering and construction consulting firm, started the business back in 1993, but sort of trudged along for many years with moderate success. There were plenty of times when Page could have thrown in the towel, but she kept pushing through.
Starting out in an industry dominated by male-owned businesses wasn’t easy, nor was the prospect of finding enough money to support the quality services she had to provide clients.
In 2012, Page worked with a Florida SBDC consultant and increased her company's sales 32% by 2013. Between 2013 and 2016, the company grew to 60 employees with $6.2 million in sales, marking a 162% revenue growth rate in that time frame. It’s a massive growth spike for a company that’s been around for nearly 25 years, and speaks to the hard work and commitment of Page and her team.
When asked what her biggest piece of advice to small business owners and entrepreneurs would be, Page has said, “Keep your faith and be patient. Don’t give up…Don’t quit!” Those words have a tendency to sound cliché, but when they come from someone like Sheryl Page, who is living proof of the good that can come from being patient, they ring truer than ever. If you learn anything from her company’s success, it should be that growth is rarely immediate, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t coming.
In 2019, Page One Consultants was purchased by construction consulting firm, NV5.
Although it seems obvious now, a decade ago, the massive health and beauty space that’s currently taking over the internet was just a blip on the radar. There was some momentum in the field, but trendy health companies weren’t yet popping up with the same ferocity as they are now.
A pair of entrepreneurs, Alexia Brue and Melisse Gelula, who were journalists at the time, saw an opportunity to launch the health and wellness media platform Well+Good, which attracted a monthly readership in excess of 5 million visitors in 2017. An online publication, Well+Good, which focuses on health, wellness, nutrition, exercise, beauty, travel, and related topics, generated eight-figure annual revenues.
The thing that sets Well+Good apart from thousands of similar websites, blogs and media platforms on the internet is their ability to deliver quality content to their audience while maintaining strong company culture. You can’t expect to grow a small business without getting everyone to rally around consistent ideals.
As Brue told Entrepreneur in a 2017 interview, “Uniting everyone around why we do what we do is the most important thing. I think that people want to make a difference, so all of us feeling like we're putting out information that's making a difference and that our company conducts itself in a way that is demonstrative of our core values is really important. That sets a lot of cultural tone.”
In 2018, lifestyle company Leaf Group Ltd acquired Well+Good.
Founded in 1996 by Mark Soberman, NetPicks is an online trading platform that supplies users with both the education and tools they need to be successful with day trading and swing trading forex, futures, stocks, options, and ETFs. While the company has been around for more than two decades, it’s really seen some significant growth in recent years.
Netpicks is an example of a small business that has evolved with the times. When NetPicks first launched, there were no online trading rooms or real-time online communities. Today, they offer comprehensive online training, live webinars, and a variety of other services that didn’t exist in their early days.
It’s also interesting to note that of the many trading experts and professionals on the NetPicks staff, all of them are actively involved in what they’re doing. They aren’t just providing clients with advice on what trades to make or which strategies to implement — they’re actually using the same information in their own daily trades. This adds a layer of authenticity.
Some entrepreneurs see an opportunity that is lucrative and jump on it, even without any experience or relevant skill sets. As a result, they usually end up floundering sooner rather than later. Successful entrepreneurs wait until they find a lucrative opportunity that matches up with their interests, experiences, and skillset. Mark Soberman and NetPicks is a good example of the latter — and it shows in how he runs the business.
“Having been exactly where our customers are now, we can relate in a special way to the challenges, obstacles, and successes of the trading lifestyle,” Soberman writes in his host bio for The Day Trading Authority podcast. “And, we continue to never rest on our laurels, always looking to improve our abilities, systems, and training.”