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Tuesday, July 5,2011

Independence, not Isolation

By Deborah Brown, Ph.D., MBA  
Americans typically celebrate independence year-round, not just on the Fourth of July. As Carrie Latet wrote, “May I never wake up from the American dream.” The American spirit is characterized as resilient, innovative, optimistic, and (above all) independent and free.

Small business owners tend to embody that spirit, collectively launching more than one million new businesses every year. According to the Small Business Administration (, small business owners employ more than 50% of all private sector employees, and bring in more than 50% of the country’s nonfarm private gross domestic product. They play a vital role in driving the nation’s economy and creating new jobs.

Because of their important role, small business owners often feel a heavy responsibility to their employees, customers, vendors, and more. But successful small business owners don’t try to meet those responsibilities in isolation. The United States is about unity, and small business owners need that unity as much as employees in global corporations.

You might feel free from the oppression of working in a cubicle, but you won’t reach your full career potential sitting quietly in your office. Success lies in networking out in the community, building a team of trusted professionals, seeking administrative support as needed, and generally avoiding trying to do everything yourself. As liberating as it is to choose your own goals, set your own prices, and craft your own strategy, being independent doesn’t mean being isolated.

So enjoy your freedom and liberation from any tyranny you might have experienced in a previous job, but don’t try to tackle everything on your own. You don’t need to personally handle everything from billing, to SEO/social media, to marketing, to actually delivering top quality products and services to your customers, and everything inbetween. As Marilyn vos Savant wrote, “What is the essence of America? Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom ‘to’ and freedom ‘from.’”

Happy Independence Day!


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