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Jody Reese




The heart of NH is small business
Granite Views: Jody Reese

06/19/14
By Jody Reese jreese@hippopress.com



 Don’t let talk radio or those yapping heads on television fool you — America and, more specifically, New Hampshire, is still a place where people can and actually do use their smarts and ingenuity to take control of their futures by opening their own businesses.

At Hippo we see this on a daily basis when new businesses call us to let us know they are opening or to advertise. It’s always been one of the more rewarding parts of the job to talk to new business owners and find out what prompted them to take the risk and go it alone. 
I recently met a young man who, along with two friends, is opening a microbrewery in Merrimack. He and his friends join a new micro distillery that recently opened in Nashua. 
To support similar efforts, Hippo, in conjunction with Bank of New Hampshire, has been offering a free 10-week business course for the past four years. We just finished the sessions for this year. The courses focus on real business experiences from more than a dozen local business owners and professionals, then mix those experiences with a sober look at how the business will (or won’t) work. We go over everything from property leasing to dealing with suppliers. It’s a lot to pack into 20 hours. 
The odds are stacked against anyone opening his own business. Most businesses fail in the first few years, and even more fail before hitting 10 years. And though we are seeing more people get into business for themselves, they face greater odds than ever. 
Chains are slowly but surely dominating each product category. Today, there are chains and franchises in almost every business area you can think of. Though there are still many small, locally owned barber shops, for example, chains are starting to saturate there too. They have many advantages, from nationally known branding to a business model that has been vetted in city after city. 
But locally owned businesses have their advantages. Most people want to shop in a local store or use a local service where the owner is a few feet away. Local businesses tend to offer a higher level of service as a way of competing against lower-priced chains. 
Local people, too, are finding areas of innovation that chains and big companies can’t get into. The local food movement, for example, is by its very nature owned by small local producers, and we’re seeing more and more of those types of businesses.
So when you think the world is just a long row of Dunkin’ Donuts and Walmarts, remember that the smart guy is finding opportunity, and through that improving our quality of life and his own. 
 
As seen in the June 19, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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