By: Mandy B. Fernandez, Marketing and Office Administrator, Florida SBDC at UWF
Recently I watched “Bee Movie” with my oldest daughter. This animated film is about an ordinary bee who is trying to determine his long-term career choice. Barry B. Benson, the star bee (voiced by Jerry Seinfeld), struggles with being a follower among his hive. He cannot fathom doing the same job for the rest of his life. He sets out on his own and explores the human world discovering that bees are often overworked, exploited and under appreciated. He tries to change that and give them time off from producing honey. Soon after that, however, all the worker bees begin to feel useless and that their lives don’t have as much meaning. Having a job, an important one like making honey, is what they love to do after all.
Toward the end of the film, Barry B. Benson is trying to land a plane to help pollinate dying flowers. The air traffic controller remarks how bees should not even be able to fly. These words seem to indicate that something so small, like a worker bee, should not be impactful. Barry’s response was this:
“Let me tell you something about a small job: If you do it well, it can make a big difference.”
Small business, big impact
As I heard this phrase, I felt very moved. What a wonderful, true statement, I thought to myself. I work at the Florida SBDC at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. I see small business owners make a difference daily. I hear their stories. I witness their excitement. Some come in with ideas that eventually turn into grand openings. Others buy existing businesses and take them in new directions. People come in looking for ways to thrive and enhance their operations. Owning and running a business takes incredible courage, discipline and selflessness.
Like Barry the bee said, small jobs do make a BIG difference. They often employ other people. They provide a valuable service, skill, product or program that others use. They help keep dollars within the community they serve.
I think about how the small things throughout my routine really shape my attitude. The same goes for a small business. All the services we use – mechanic, hairdresser, food service preparer, shopkeeper, librarian, computer service technician and countless others – are connected to people and jobs. If they weren’t around, what would we do? How would we feel? Even a simple task viewed by one person is a great undertaking by someone else.
Think big, shop small
Small business is what makes this nation so great. I fully believe in supporting the local business men and women in my area. November 29 marked “Small Business Saturday” where we encouraged everyone to shop locally. Instead of making it a designated day, however, consider shopping that way all-year long. Make little contributions to neighboring entrepreneurs each week or month. This will create a big difference not only for small business owners, but also for your local economy.
Don’t forget what Barry the bee has taught us. “Small jobs make a big difference.” We can work together like a hive to continue producing sweet benefits — not just honey, but work and people that matter– on our streets.