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This week is a very special week for a special group of people. This week, May 20-26, is National Small Business Week, which recognizes the enormous contributions that small businesses, small business owners, make in our economy and in millions of people’s lives. As the President, and many economists, correctly state day in and day out –small businesses are the backbone of our economy.
Not only do small businesses help drive the economy and employ millions of people, but small businesses are the leaders in innovation which create new markets and new jobs. I will always be a small businessman at heart, and will always operate Edible Arrangements like a small business (as should you) no matter how many people we employ or revenue generated. What I mean is that no matter how large your business becomes, your business must never lose that entrepreneurial spirit, desire for change and to push boundaries, and commitment for innovation. Those characteristics make any business thrive, no matter the size. You must always seek to improve, to change to stay ahead of the competition or enter new markets, take calculated yet informed risks, and act with intelligent passion, and never get stifled by a rigid corporate hierarchy or culture.
Probably one of the most satisfying aspects for me in being a part of Edible Arrangements astounding growth from the first franchised location in 2001 to over 1,000 locations worldwide today is watching so many people realize their dreams of becoming small business owners. Just like me when I opened my first flower shop when I was a teenager, so many people have a passion to chart their own destiny and open their own business. It’s part of the American psyche and in its DNA –a thirst for entrepreneurship and mapping your own path. The opportunity is there –now grasp it! I find it encouraging that according to media reports, more than half of today’s youth, particularly the more than 46 million Millennials (people in their 20’s to early 30’s), or Generation Y as they are known (I wonder who comes up with these names) want to start their own businesses. Naysayers may say that this is because of the economy and difficulty in finding a job, but I would like to believe there is more to it than that. I believe that people are finally recognizing the personal satisfaction, challenge, enrichment and opportunity available by becoming a small business owner, and the desire to have more control over their lives.
People such as Judy Annunziata, an Edible Arrangements franchisee who opened her first store in Newburgh, NY in 2006, and now owns 2 more stores in Middletown and Monroe, NY, was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug at an early age. She worked in the family restaurant for years before temporarily getting a “corporate” job as a paralegal then, after realizing her passion belongs in the small business world, went back to the family restaurant before opening her first Edible Arrangements store. I would like to also add that Judy is now also the face of Edible Arrangements as she is featured in our latest whimsical “World of Edible Arrangements” TV commercial. So many people are like Judy, except for starring in a TV commercial, who share a dream and a passion to be a small business owner, and then act on it.
Let’s all celebrate small business week together, and maybe, just maybe someday soon, you will finally carry out your dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and start your own business. I’m living my dreams as a business owner helping others becoming small business owners. Nothing makes me happier than celebrating their successes.