Business "Gut Check"
Posted: October 5, 2007
When I moved to Eau Claire more than 20 years ago, I never thought I would be fortunate enought to own a variety of businesses by the time I was 42 years old. I acquired The Bottom Line from the Charles Dickoff family, who owned the radio stations I worked at from July, 1987, to May, 1992. That was 19 years ago (Oct. 5, 1988). At the time, The Bottom Line was a six-page weekly newsletter with about 400 subscribers. Today, more than an estimated 15,000 business people view the 16-page publication that boasts more than 900 subscribers.
I have reminisced a bit this week as I enter my 20th year as a small business owner. Looking back on previous issues of this newsletter, I noticed how the region has become so much more sophisticated in how we do business. Certainly, the technological advances of the past 20 years, let alone the last decade, have allowed for an upward surge in our ability to process more information and become more efficient at the same time. Consequently, some of the business practices of old are outdated, which forces us to either change how we operate or consider whether it would be best to do something else.
Something happens to those of us who have owned a business for nearly two decades. Many of the psychiatric professionals call this sympton a "mid-life crisis ". I prefer to call it a "gut check ". For some time, I have wondered what it would be like to do something other than own The Bottom Line. Don't get me wrong: This publication has never been up for sale nor have I entertained many offers to sell my business. But I think it is natural for any owner of a small business to daydream and/or re-evaluate his/her career path.
After considerable thought over the past few months, I have decided to be even more committed to owning The Bottom Line. Although this publication is produced by just myself and my office manager, Tammy, I feel comfortable predicting that this publication is poised to become an even larger presence in the reporting of local business news. I am sure that sounds a bit conceited to some of you, but I have never met a small business owner that does not have the confidence necessary to change with the times.
I want to thank all of the subscribers, advertisers, loyal readers and business people who help me with my weekly mission. As always, I encourage your input about possible improvements that can be implemented to make The Bottom Line a more useful tool. I would also appreciate any thoughts other small business owners have about their own "gut check " moments. (firstname.lastname@example.org/715-834-7337)