Having covered entrepreneurs from a media perspective for 30 years, Rieva Lesonsky (@rieva), President and Founder of GrowBiz Media, knows small business.
When she served as Editorial Director at Entrepreneur Magazine, though, she began to see the connection between small businesses and corporations.
Particularly, how they can help one another.
Rieva explains how she came to recognize the synergistic needs of business owners and corporations:
“I spent a lot of time when I was at the magazine talking to corporations, explaining the small business market to them. So it became natural for me to recognize how synergistic the needs of business owners and corporations were, and how they can help one another.”
So Why the Rift Between Corporations and Startups?
Corporations often don’t “get” small businesses and startups. They tend to see startups as “somehow not serious, and that they’re cheap,” says Rieva. She continues:
“In fact, it’s at startup that many entrepreneurs do their research (they have more time) and pick the brands they’re going to use in their business. If those products and services work well for them, chances are they’re going to stick with them as they grow their businesses. They become too busy to research new products and services as they concentrate their time and energies on their businesses.”
Rieva says corporations benefit from working with small businesses, as they employ more than half of all American workers. And because small businesses are in constant states of acquisition, they need “stuff” from corporations.
Through her company, Rieva helps entrepreneurs start and grow businesses, and she also introduces business owners to the products and services available to help them grow smarter and faster.
Tasting Her Own Cooking
Rieva is now a small business owner herself: she founded GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She also runs Small Biz Daily, a site dedicated to providing content to entrepreneurs. She recognizes that there are large differences between working for larger companies and running a small business:
“…the major difference is I have to be more reliant on myself and my friends to solve problems and conquer challenges. I don’t have an IT department, or an HR person. Small business owners have to be more creative problem-solvers.”
She acted as a judge for the 2012 Small Business Influencer Awards (and last year, she was honored as one of the top 100 Influencers). What she’s enjoyed most about the Awards is the not-so-obvious nominees:
“There’s a lot of support out there for small businesses, but not all business owners know about them. Hopefully those people and companies will emerge with a higher profile thru the judging process.”
Editor’s Note: This article is one of a series of interviews of key players in the Small Business Influencer Awards.