Q&A with Amanda Brinkman Host of Small Business Revolution – Main Street

Small TalkThe Small Business Revolution Main Street is a documentary series by Deluxe Corporation that seeks out America’s most inspiring small towns and awards a winner with a $500,000 revitalization grant that is featured through an eight episode series. The episodes are available online or through Hulu.

What is the goal of Small Business Revolution – Main Street and the new “Small Talks” series?

Over the last few years, the Small Business Revolution has taught us time and time again that small business owners love learning directly from other entrepreneurs who have overcome similar challenges. That’s why we were so excited to create the brand-new “Small Talks” series. For that series, we hit the road, and go directly to the source, getting tips from small business owners and the experts who have helped them succeed. “Small Talks” is also a natural fit for the Deluxe Small Business Resource Center, which features hundreds of free resources for small businesses. It’s incredibly rewarding and exciting to bring all of these resources to small business owners across the country, and our goal is to be a growth engine for these small businesses, who in turn will help our communities thrive.

What are some of the biggest challenges independent businesses are facing today? 

Between the millions of independent businesses that Deluxe works with across America, and the small businesses that we’ve helped transform on “Small Business Revolution – Main Street,” we’ve found that the two most common challenges for small businesses are marketing and knowing their numbers.

That’s why resources like Deluxe’s Small Business Resource Center, and the Small Talks videos contained in it, are so important. They are designed to be compelling, easy to understand, and full of actionable tips, so that entrepreneurs can quickly grasp marketing and finance concepts, put them to use, and get back to the parts of running their businesses that they love.

How do you see the current state of the independent retail industry? 

Great question! You see a lot of headlines predicting doom and gloom for independent retail, and they largely focus on growing competition from online and big-box retailers. While that struggle is very real, I’ve learned by working with independent retailers across America that there is currently a unique opportunity for the owners of small retail businesses.

First off, consumers and business owners alike are increasingly cognizant of where their money is being spent, and the importance of investing dollars in ways that benefit their communities. But just as importantly, the Internet is allowing small businesses to show up bigger online – ultimately leveling the playing field in unprecedented ways. But it means that small businesses need to be showing up well online.

For brick and mortar locations, personalized customer service is where independent retailers can stand out. You can provide that personal touch that big box stores and national online retailers simply can’t.

What advice do you have for retail business owners? 

This advice applies to ANY business owner: Your time is your most valuable resource, and it’s finite. Focus on doing what you love about running your business and know when to ask for help and turn to people who can support you in specific areas that allow you to be efficient and effective with your time. That’s the best part of working with partners like Deluxe, whose expertise can help alleviate headaches and get entrepreneurs back to what they love about their businesses faster.