Small Business surprise in my week away

Hi there StartUpNation!  I am back after one final tribute to summer last week.  Where I live, school is back in session as of today, and I am glued to my desk and ready to go!  In between camp and school, my WHOLE extended family headed to the beach last week.  We enjoyed one last rendezvous with sun, fun, sand, pizza and ice cream.

I admit that I did not totally unplug while away.  I did check emails a few times a day, set up a few crucial appointments, and tweeted here and there.  What I did enjoy A LOT of was walking around the beach town in the morning.  Nothing like jamming to tunes and catching some early morning ocean air while checking out the town on foot.

As I explored the local town, I was struck by one major finding – I was surrounded my small business!  Of course, there were a few chain type places in the town, but for the most part, I was literally in an ocean of entrepreneurs. This was completely fascinating and invigorating to me.  I began to think about my experience at other beaches, and I came to the conclusion that BeachTown, U.S.A. is a model of small business.

I am not sure why this phenomenon exists.  Possibly, beach dwellers are a dream filled bunch or the logistics of getting stuff in and out of the little town scares big box types away.  Nonetheless, seeing the local small businesses in action was a fabulous experience for me, and of course, I took mental notes on what I saw…….The coolest part was seeing a lot of what we discuss here on StartUpNation in action.

Here are the highlights that show small businesses know What’s Up:

  • The QR Code is smoking hot among the beach retailers.  Walking by the storefronts, I saw a QR Code about every 5-6 stores hanging in the window.  With one little click of my smart phone, I could save the store’s URL for shopping back home or connect with the store on Facebook.  These individual retailers realize that this is a low cost and time-saving way to get their information out there.
  • The local small businesses were swimming in a sea of Social Media.  A majority of the stores were promoting their Facebook pages and/or their Twitter Handle.  These beachside entrepreneurs were embracing the importance of social media in terms of staying in touch with the customer when they were and were not at the beach about specials, sales, new merchandise, and town information.  Growing loyalty is obviously important to these businesses.
  • Implementation of Facebook and Twitter did not replace a Website.  These local businesses did not ditch their own url for social media, but rather integrated all of the above!  This provides consumers a comprehensive way to stay in touch.
  • Foursquare was responsible for a stake in the sand.  Many of the small businesses were using Foursquare Check-Ins/Deals to grab the attention of beach-goers.  My sons had their heart set on a new sports bar type restaurant, and after checking in, we got $5 off the meal.  My boys were impressed that they saved me five bucks.
  • We may have been on a family vacation, but many of these small businesses have made their endeavors a Family Affair.  I met so many teens working for the summer in their family business.  Not only do these teens get to spend the summer at the beach, BUT they learn about creating their own dreams.  They see the hard work behind it, but also view the amazing payoff of all that hard work.

I took a week off not knowing that it would be so incredibly inspiring to see all these small businesses and entrepreneurs making it happen in real time.  Now, I do not feel as guilty for taking a little time away AND I am re-invigorated to tackle my dreams while keeping in mind what I saw these businesses practicing.

As small business people, do you implement these practices?

To follow my dreams and pursuits, connect with me at

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