December 1, 2017

Small Business in Changing Times

While sitting in the food court of our local mall, less than a month before Christmas, I found myself feeling a sense of loss and wonderment. The time was late afternoon, and the mall was nearly empty. What has happened to the great storefronts of the past? Deep down, I already knew the answer. Business is changing. It is changing rapidly. The question is, how are we (small business owners) going to change with it?

I recognize I have played my own part in this change. As a consumer, I have drastically changed my shopping habits. I went to our local mall three times this past week - yet, it was only on one occasion that I spent any money there. I treated my son to an afternoon snack from the food court. That was it. My purpose for coming to the mall all three of those days was to pick up packages from the mall's Amazon locker.

During the 80s and 90s, local malls seemed to be THE place to be.  As a teen, it was our hangout.  As a 20-something, it was our hangout.  Times have changed.  Our younger generations no longer hang out at the mall.  Youth sports, activities and video games have taken over their lives.

In less than 10 months, as a start-up business owner, it has become necessary to modify my business plan.  There is a need to make my service available to customers at a reasonable cost without my overhead expenses eating up significantly more than I bring in.  I am closing the year 2017, my first 10 months in business, in debt.  I will pay my final lease payment this afternoon and release my business from some overhead expenses.  By January, 2018, I will no longer operate a brick and mortar art studio.

Socrates has been credited to have said "The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new."  With a sense of sadness, I reminisce how the world used to work.  But I know that I must move forward and embrace change.

As the year closes in on 2018, I have much to be grateful for and much more to look forward to.  It is time to build on past dreams.  It is time to create something new.

My name is Renee Clark.  And this is my point of view.

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