There’s no rulebook for owning and running your own business—but there are great ideas.
Because success is defined differently for many entrepreneurs, hearing the diverse perspectives of others who have undergone the journey can help you form your own ideal business. From hiring to branding and leading to growing, here are our favorite quotes from business owners this year.
What will you be in 2023?
Be a mentor
“[Our team includes] young kids that have never had a job before and [we have to] be willing to put the time in with them and show them, ‘Hey, this is what our expectation is. This is how we do things.’ And we work around their schedules too. We know that this isn’t their forever job, but I tell everyone I hire, ‘This is my forever job.’”
—Joey Carioti, Cranky Al’s
How Cranky Al’s remains a community staple
Be the brand
“At the end of the day, [branding] is just trying to be helpful to your consumer. That’s the ultimate measuring stick to any decision that business owners make: ‘How helpful is this thing for your consumer? How helpful are you as a brand?’ Ultimately, if you help someone enough times, over and over and over again, that’s the feeling they’re getting from you. That’s the brand.”
—Wesley The Keeper, Akron Honey
Branding and storytelling tips from Akron Honey owner Wesley The Keeper
Be a trailblazer
“Now that we’ve gotten further into having a shop, we really see the power that Plantiitas has as a platform to bring awareness to more than just plants: mental health, racial justice, and social justice, which is a passion of ours as well. We’re lucky to be able to have that—to elevate new businesses like us, without putting up barriers. We know how expensive and how hard it is to start up a business. We’ve started to pave a path, and then we can welcome other folks on that path.”
—Anthony Diaz and Kevin Alcaraz, Plantiitas
Lessons on business growth with thriving plant shop, Plantiitas
“I’ll listen to [critical feedback from customers] and I’ll be like: ‘Listen, I’m taking action on this. I’m going to build a better company.’ Every time, I thank them for it. Thank you for the 1-star review. This is how I grow. Without you bringing these mistakes to my attention, I would never know they were occurring. So you’re a layer of accountability for me to build a better business.”
—Josh Campbell, Rescue Air Heating and Cooling
4 steps to a successful review response strategy
“What we have found has worked well for Golde is really leaning into telling our authentic story. That’s where the magic is. If someone comes to you and says, ‘I love your brand,’ ask them why. If you could name one thing, what is the thing that makes you love this company? And you’ll start to hear themes, and you’ll start to find that pattern of where you need to lean in.”
—Trinity Mouzon Wofford, Golde
Three beauty founders on representation, finding community, and launching their businesses
Be a leader
“A restaurant is truly a team effort. Not one person is more important than another. A restaurant operates smoothly only when every individual involved is working in harmony together as one unit. This happens through routine open conversations with every one of our team members, so that any issues can be identified and resolved in a healthy manner. Most importantly, we listen to our team. If you do not take the time to listen to your team, and to learn and adapt to what they are saying, then you will be lost as a leader.”
—Danny Lee, Anju
Changing the narrative around Korean cuisine in D.C.
Be a delegator
“Having a team in place, I started delegating everything that I possibly could. And recognizing that, with my business, I should only be utilizing my resources on the things where I’m adding the highest value and really contributing. I trust my managers to respond to things appropriately. They’re really well-trained. They don’t do it correctly all the time ‘cause they’re also human—but just giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, really delegating everything that you can, [makes a difference]. And I do that at home as well. We all have very limited time in the day, and [you have to make] sure that you’re spending your time on the most high value things.”
—Alyssa Bayer, milk + honey spa
Prioritizing mental health to boost your business: advice from business owners
Be an advocate
“For me, it’s really important to raise awareness for mental health concerns as someone who has suffered lifelong with mental health concerns myself. I believe that in telling my story, it’s paving the way for other people to tell their stories. The struggle is real, and the stigma is real, and I wanna be a part of the change in the stigma of mental health. I want Skull & Cakebones to be a platform where people are surprised by the fact that they can walk into a bakery and talk about how they’re feeling.”
—Sascha Biesi, Skull & Cakebones
Blending your business and brand with your personal identity
Be a networker
“You’re gonna get a lot of nos in your lifetime, but you’ll be surprised—those same nos will turn around a few years later and say, “Yes, hey, I remember you.” I cannot emphasize enough: Relationships are the most important thing to business growth. It’s barely [your] qualifications, to be honest with you. It’s that manager who remembers you from a great conversation at a coffee shop. So make sure you talk to as many people as you can and put yourself out there and build those relationships.”
—Nana Agyemang, EveryStylishGirl
A day in the life with media entrepreneur Nana Agyemang
Be part of the community
“When you shop locally, more money stays in the community, so I think it’s very, very important to support local businesses. If I’m strong, you’ll be strong. And if you are strong, I will be strong. I don’t consider other local businesses my competitors. I feel like they’re fellow collaborators, and I try to promote other local businesses as much as I can.”
—Mona Ghattas, Duran Central Pharmacy
How a beloved diner evolved effectively and created a long-lasting community
One last thing…
Whatever you choose to be, you’re always more than just a business owner. For more inspiration, read the best advice we heard from businesses in 2021.
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