It’s been quite a year. But as it draws to a close, the conversations I’ve been able to have with small and medium business (SMB) owners — through my job and in my local neighborhood — make me hopeful for 2021. In fact, according to our Small & Medium Business Trends Report, 72% of SMBs are still optimistic about the future of their business. We’ve been supporting their resilience through products and resources, as well as our grants programs: programs that helped small businesses on a local, national, and international level.
Just recently, we gave $10,000 each to 180 San Francisco small businesses. And we’re intentional about supporting the community where we are headquartered, staying true to our core value of equality. Half of the recipients are women-owned businesses, 22% Black or African American-owned, 30% Latinx-owned, and 13% LGBTQIA-owned.
As we sat down with these businesses to share they’ve been awarded a grant, we asked them what they learned in 2020 that will help them in 2021, and how people can continue to help small businesses in the upcoming year. Here’s a snapshot of their takeaways:
1. Self-care is vital: Morgan Mapes, The Golden Hour
The Golden Hour is a carefully curated vintage boutique in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond District. Founder Morgan Mapes shared how maintaining boundaries as a business owner is vital for mental health during this time.
“I know it’s easy for SMB owners to be very emotionally attached to their businesses. I used to be like that. But [it’s important] to know that the business is its own entity, it is a living, breathing thing that is independent of you as a business owner,” she said.
So how is Mapes moving forward in 2021? She’s doing everything in her power to maintain boundaries, take care of herself, and keep faith.
“The clouds have cleared,” Mapes said. “Be steadfast and patient with yourself.”
2. The pandemic is an opportunity to reset: Dean Osumi, Osumi Dentistry
The pandemic challenged small businesses. But it also forced many of them to think differently. From prioritizing safety to digitizing processes, they’ve made many pivots.
For Founder and Dentist Dean Osumi the pandemic gave his business the opportunity to pause and reassess their day-to-day operations and priorities.
“We got an opportunity to hit that reset button, where we were able to look at what’s really important in the office — and it came down to health first of all. Financially it’s been ups and downs, but it’s been more of an opportunity to take a step back and figure out what’s actually going to make me happy in this situation and moving forward. And it’s still evolving,” he said.
3. Use this time to improve yourself: Laura Hernandez, La Victoria
We’ve all been tested professionally and personally these past nine months. But one thing that continues to inspire me is how small business leaders keep moving forward in every aspect of their lives. Laura Hernandez and Danny Gabriner run an almost 70-year-old Mexican bakery in the Mission district of San Francisco, called La Victoria. Laura shared how 2020 taught her many things, but namely, to be stronger as a leader and as a mother.
“I learned to be stronger, number one. I learned to persevere, and to be a better boss, and to have tolerance in all aspects,” Hernandez said. “But one of the most important things I learned is to be a better mother.”
4. Support small businesses now: Patricia and Leonard Montgomery, Russian Hill Dog Grooming
When it comes to supporting small businesses, I’ll never forget the words of Patricia and Leonard Montgomery of Russian Hill Dog Grooming.
“Remember a small business is what makes a community. You need to help them out somehow.” Leonard Montgomery said. Patricia Montgomery added, “Take a walk in your neighborhood and support your corner store. Let people know which places are still open.”
In addition to Patricia’s advice, you can show your support by purchasing an I <3 SMB T-Shirt now. 100% of proceeds go to the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, an organization providing small businesses with tools and advice they need to succeed now and beyond the pandemic.
Salesforce helps you find more customers, win their business, and keep them happy so you can succeed. Learn more about our small business CRM solutions by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
And don’t forget to watch our full video featuring San Francisco grants recipients: