The theme on Charles Street was hard to ignore, though most did. Hundreds of locals passed dozens of storefronts by the hour, largely oblivious to the marketing efforts of each business, silently trapped in their own heads. Their feet carried them mindlessly to their destination. Few stopped to shop.
I, on the other hand, couldn't help myself. Every window display captured my attention. Every smell from every bakery turned my head. The very bricks of the sidewalk, now cracked and gnarled and settled from over 200 years of foot traffic, guided me from one store to the next. While others were lost in their thoughts, I was captivated by the intersection of history and modern-day small business... and I wondered of the story for every small business on the street.
Knowing from experience how difficult it is to start, run, and build and grow a business, I wanted to hear how they did it. How did they get started? What gave them the most success? How did they deal with the daily challenges of keeping their (literal) doors open?
If only they could tell me, and I could share their experiences, the challenges they've faced and the problems they've solved could help thousands of business owners like themselves.
The following article is that help. Not from the handful of brick-and-mortar stores in Beacon Hill, Boston, but from business owners running every kind of business throughout the world.