So … a weird question: Have you (yup, you, the person reading this right now) ever fallen in love with a place of business? Even just a little?
For me that place is … well … it’s this place:
It’s called the Reuseum. Get it? Puns for everyone!
This place is just another small business, but it’s also so much more than that.
The Reuseum is this enormous dusty building filled with relic technologies. Looking for a used aircraft radar? This place has that. It’s on a dusty shelf right above the checkout counter beside a 3D print of Baby Yoda. Need the most specific machine screw imaginable? There’s an enormous fridge-like tub in a back room filled to overflowing with impossibly specific screws. Every weird and potentially useful gizmo you can imagine lives there somewhere. If you’re patient and sharp-eyed enough you will find what you seek.
But here’s the thing…
The Reuseum isn’t just a business filled with “stuff.”
Geeks of all kinds flock there to take lessons and exchange notes on their niche hobbies. Young ones go there to attend workshops on science and technology. Right now, they’re rolling out a community-wide tech refurbishment program. People hang out there when they’re lonely, or just want to laugh and joke around while swapping geeky tech anecdotes. And all the while, humming along in the background, staff and volunteers are out there actively advocating with the wider community about the importance of recycling.
This is a small business.
It isn’t some abstraction of commerce! It isn’t some unremarkable agglomeration of shelves and price tags and dust-strewn parking lots with wonky-wheeled shopping carts!
A small business is a place that means something…
something with the potential to be glorious … and important … and, well …
Which brings us to you!
Glorious. Important. Exceptional.
What makes the magic happen?
Please don’t sell yourself short.
As a small business owner — make no mistake — you have the power to change things. Let’s look at some of the places from which that bottled lightning originates, and just for grins, let’s start zoomed right in on that cash register of yours, and then gradually pull the camera out to your whole community.
Helping your local economy thrive
You just made another sale. And, yes, while your cash register almost certainly does not literally make that delightful cha-ching noise, it does send very literal multiplier effects radiating out across your local economy.
Taxes get paid. Jobs get made. People who support you get to ply their trade. (Today’s unintentional poem brought to you by the letter T.)
The point is, when you make a sale people around you benefit.
That’s all there is to say on this one really, so let’s twist the lens and zoom out a smidge.
Creating creative connections
See that group of customers huddled in a corner, talking?
They’re here because of you.
Communities are, at their core, the relationships that form between people living in place and time. Small businesses—from restaurants, to law offices, and everything in between—are one of the most important places from which such relationships spring.
Thinking back to my beloved Reuseum, I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve overheard strangers striking up a conversation about some project they’re working on. I’m positive there are pinball machines and automatic rain measuring stations and novelty robotic iguanas out there right now that would not exist had it not been for these kinds of impromptu conversations.
How astounding is that?
You’re at the epicenter of a human connection tornado, a vast creative maelstrom of serendipitous convergence.
Do you feel it? Is your skin tingling?
Your small business has the potential to generate these kinds of conversations. Better still, you get to be part of them, not to mention the scintillating sparks of loyalty and excitement those conversations generate.
But we’re burning words here, so let’s zoom out a bit further still.
Shaping cultures and customs
Whoa. This lens must have a wicked temporal wide-angle on it because we’re now looking at your whole town and the role your small business has to play in its past, its present and its future. (And no, we won’t have to save the clock tower on this occasion.)
Your business is a location where memories are made and traditions are formed. It’s a small but bright light of order and civilization, a critical pixel of meaning that contributes to putting your city on the proverbial map.
Again, taking The Reuseum as an example, people share ideas and experience because that’s what you do there.
I’d only been wandering the aisles for five minutes before I realized questions are welcome in these hallowed scuffed-linoleum halls.
It’s just the culture of that place.
It’s in the walls. It’s in the dusty air pumped out by its ancient rattling HVAC system. No technical question is too dumb, arcane, or convoluted at this haven for the geekishly inclined. Why? Because it’s The Reuseum.
Your small business has the same magical potential to build that shared sense of culture, custom and shared purpose.
Now we’re at maximum zoom and casting our gaze over your whole community, near and far. And suddenly it’s all rather simple again. Baked in to any small businesses is that same far-reaching potential that comes hardwired into humanity itself.
We can give back.
What does giving back look like? What doesn’t it look like?
At my favorite electronic store, giving back means workshops for local kids. It’s running “bring it in” nights where people in the community can bring in their old and broken appliances to get them fixed. It’s awareness raising and a broader mandate to educate people to think differently about “obsolete” objects in our society.
Small businesses like yours have so much potential to … make it better … and it can be as small as a smile or as large as … as large as … well let’s just fully embrace the twee and say as large as the human spirit itself.
Because why not?
Irreversible. Irrevocable. Irreplaceable.
You make the magic happen
I know, I know, sooner or later every company will steer you to their vision and mission statement, but indulge us for a moment and have a quick squiz at our vision statement:
Ruby’s vision is to deliver exceptional experiences that build customer loyalty and empower businesses to freely pursue their purpose, cultivating diverse and thriving local economies.
Experiences. Empowering. Purpose.
Yeah! Those are some $10 words right there, and they mean something. They mean something you can’t stick in an excel sheet, chuck on a gantt chart, or slap on a pie graph.
At Ruby, we believe that small businesses like yours have a purpose that goes deeper than profits or growth. You’re out there building relationships. You’re bringing people together. Sure, you have a checkout at your front door and profit and loss columns to tend, but as a small business owner, you’re also laying down the bedrock of the community.
And just like my favorite geek den with its gargantuan tub of impossibly specific screws, we believe your unique purpose makes your small business …
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