Can a Small Business Survive?
Can a Small Business Survive?
Bob Bender / Owner – Bob Bender Productions
Being born and raised in Bakersfield, I’ve had the good fortune of growing up in a city that always felt like a small close knit community to me. I’ve also been blessed to live and work in some major metropolitan markets around the nation, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Nashville Tennessee over the years. But I’ve always been a Bakersfield boy thru and thru.
With that being said, I moved back to Bakersfield two years ago, after a long absence of nearly 15 years to marry my best friend (who I have known since kindergarten by the way), and re-establish my roots back in my hometown. In the process, I relocated my company, which in this current economic climate has been challenging to say the least. My business is rather unique, in that I work in the music, film, and television production industry. Although Bakersfield is known for its “sound”, it’s actually not a hub of entertainment industry activity I’m used to… at least not at the moment. My goal as an entrepreneur, is by nature to change that however.
I’m a small business owner, who’s operation is located downtown in the hub of the arts district (a perfect place for my type of business). I have one part-time assistant/office manager who makes sure I accomplish what I set out to do when she’s in the office. When we produce a concert at the Fox Theater (which is part of our field of expertise), we hire many more part-time workers, in some cases directly or indirectly anywhere from 10 to 50 people. We have lofty goals that we hope to achieve in the next few years to not only ensure that our business survives, but ultimately thrives. But none of this is without challenges. Fortunately, I have a core group of people I can count on to discuss and share new ideas.
Being a business owner in California is a constant test for me. I moved from a state that had a much lower corporate tax, no personal state income tax, along with state and local government(s) in place that wanted to attract and keep the small business intact (and hopefully profitable). With the current state of affairs in Sacramento, I can’t say that “they” in the capital actually grasp that concept, and attempts to harvest such an ideal relationship with the small business owner, is minimal at best. As a business owner, we do have choices however. We can decide to move out of state, and relocate somewhere that is more business friendly (and don’t think my wife and I haven’t discussed that a time or two… or three). But if we did that, we’d be away from our friends, many of them that we’ve known since childhood, and apart from her kids (mine are scattered all over the nation so that just gives us an excuse to go travel and see the country when visiting my now grown children). Our other choice is to be aware of the constantly changing and revising laws, rules, and regulations that California is compelled pass ad naseum, and at the same time work towards making this business of ours grow in spite of the legislatures.
My goal is to not just keep my company surviving, but to ensure that it ultimately thrives. As a business owner, we have to find new opportunities out there in the marketplace, create them if need be, and not to forget to network with other businesses in our local community whenever possible. There was a reason that small town America has worked for so long. In Bakersfield, that is still a viable option for the business owner. If we keep that foundation in our business model, we will not just survive. We’ll thrive!