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Entrepreneurial Minds Share How to Excel as a Small Business

Meghan McLaughlin

Are you interested in starting a small business? Have you been struggling in your new venture as a small business owner? Do you feel like you are constantly losing customers to big corporations?  Do you compare yourself to competitors? Competing against big corporations is difficult, especially when you are competing against their influx of accessible resources.

As opposed to big corporations, a small business owner needs to focus on the most important aspects that will lead to success. To start, as a small business, you have the opportunity to connect on a more personal level with customers and to really focus on customer satisfaction.

As a small business, it is extremely important to find your niche and to focus on becoming really good at that one thing— your specialty. Lastly, even though it’s bound to happen, you can’t be anxious about your more established competitors; instead, you need to focus on your business and its success and future potential. Below are four small business owners who shared advice on how to excel as a small business!

  • Maria Jaeckel- Blue Bone Jewelry  


In June of 2016, 16-year-old Maria presented a two-page business proposal to her parents, asking them for a $200 investment to start her own jewelry brand. At the time, she had no idea that Blue Bone would become what it is today. Over the past five years, she has launched over 600 designs, sold nearly 12,000 pieces, and held over 45 pop-up shops. Currently, her merchandise is selling in five boutiques nationwide, and she is hosting regular pop-up shops along the East Coast while shipping products nationally that are highlighted on her website https://www.bluebonejewelry.com!

“The passion I have for jewelry design and entrepreneurship is unmatched in anything else I do. Blue Bone has given me a place where I can freely be myself—illustrating my ambitions and allowing me to uncover a sense of confidence within myself. I hope to promote and inspire that same confidence in anyone who wears my jewelry. Blue Bone is more than a company, but a brand that seeks to inspire and create”.  

  • Christine Willard- Busy Lives LLC

Christine Willard is a Certified Life Coach and owner of Christine Willard, Life Balance Expert for Busy Lives LLC.  She holds a BA in Communications, Public Relations from Rowan University and has extensive experience in life coaching, nonprofit marketing, and communications.

Christine helps women make the shift from overwhelmed to calm. She guides women in creating positive change in their lives for more energy, stronger relationships, better health, and more enjoyable life.  She is also the president of the nonprofit organization Many Gifts One Heart, Inc., which helps women alleviate feelings of anxiety and alienation through free one-on-one coaching where they feel heard, validated, and supported, which helps them move forward in a positive way.

“I find leading with my heart, connecting with people in meaningful ways, and learning from successful entrepreneurs helps me excel as a small business entrepreneur.  It is easy to get caught up in the “quick-rich” mentality, or to give up, however taking one step at a time to build strong relationships with integrity has helped me to stay the course over time and is personally rewarding.  Supporting women in creating positive change in their lives inspires and motivates me.  To excel in small business, I believe you need to be inspired by the work you do, humbled by the work you do, and be open to learning all along the way.” 

  • Brendan Quinn- Pro Dynamic Resources

Proforma Dynamic Resources offers a wide array of printing, promotional products, graphic resources, and business solutions that are all tailored to help their clients do one thing……grow their business!

They are a single-source solution, from marketing strategy, advertising, and marketing plans to create,  print, promotional products, and office technology that helps companies streamline operations, gain an edge on the competition and stay within budget.

They offer customized E-commerce solutions that help manage the entire process. Their specialties include print, promotional products, business documents, E-commerce solutions, multimedia, and print management.

“Let’s face it….There is nothing more important in our business world than relationships.  Our relationships with our customers, our vendors, and our co-workers is the most critical factor that drives our business. Be accountable and reliable to each and every one of these relationships. Your customers and your co-workers need to know that they can trust and rely on you to be there for them each and every day. When there are bumps in the road, which there most certainly will be, be accountable and get the problem corrected so that your relationships can flourish moving forward.  Last but not least, be enthusiastic and have fun!”

  • Cailey Gibson- Cailscustoms_

Cailey Gibson graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2020  with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. She currently works full-time in the child welfare services industry, but after hours you can find her creating everything from home decor to custom apparel. What started as a quarantine hobby has given her a creative outlet to build her brand and connect with people from all over the country through her social media platform Instagram: @cailscustoms_

“Since my small business runs mostly on custom orders, what I found to be most important for my success is being quickly responsive to customer inquiries and staying in communication with all buyers until the point of delivery. Before the final design is made, I send my customers various design options so they can ultimately choose which best suits their style, which I believe levels up my business from other competition!”

Small businesses are the heart and soul of this country. It’s not always easy to become a successful entrepreneur, but doing something you love and developing real relationships with your customers can be the driving force that results in establishing a successful business and a satisfying lifestyle.

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