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Small business awards announced at annual luncheon

Thursday, October 25, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Kaitlyn Rigdon/News-Times

Awards: Small Business award winners are photographed above at the third annual Spirit of South Arkansas Small Business Awards luncheon Wednesday.

 

The third annual Spirit of South Arkansas Small Business Awards luncheon recognized small businesses in Union County that demonstrate a commitment to good business practice, employee relations and the community.

The businesses recognized are made up of 50 employees or less, have completed three full years of operations as of this past January and have a valid business license.

At the luncheon, awards were handed out for seven categories, including the best women-owned, veteran-owned, minorityowned, family-owned and customer focus businesses.

Awards for young entrepreneur and small business of the year were also announced at the luncheon.

The top award was the small business of the year award, and requirements include being members of the chamber of commerce and demonstrating outstanding results in growth, customer service, marketing, profitability, competitive positioning, community service and innovation.

The award went to Flower Pot Lawn Care & Landscaping, LLC., with second place going to Cole’s Jewelers, followed by Main Street Pizza receiving third.

Perry Pope, owner of Flower Pot Lawn Care & Landscaping, LLC., said he was in sheer shock from being awarded small business of the year.

“I am humbled, I’m shocked, I’m grateful, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Pope said. “I have an awesome crew and a bunch of guys that have been with me for a long time and I could not do it without them. We are truly blessed.”

Edward Haddock, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), was the keynote speaker at the event, and shared advice to small business owners on ways to be successful and improve their businesses.

According to the website, the SBA is an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of the nation.

Haddock talked about the four stages of business, and ways to scale a small business into a success.

The first stage includes the start up and early stage, which he stated was the most exciting phase.

“This is the stage where everyone has a great idea,” he said. “This is the stage of risk and the stage of potential collapse. This is the stage that missteps and a lack of preparation could prevent you from ever moving out of this stage.”

Haddock added that if a small business can make it through the first stage, “you’re greater than 80 percent of the businesses out there.”

The second stage he discussed was growth and development. With this stage, Haddock talked about Arkansas’ adaptation of technology.

“One of the key components that I’ve seen as a struggle throughout the state of Arkansas is the adaptation of technology into our small businesses at this stage,” he said. “Adaptation of technology is so important in our small business community and it’s one of the main challenges that we see across the state.”

As a small business grows, it peaks at maturity, which Haddock added was the third stage.

“Businesses that are at this point are riding on a high,” he said. “This is also a dangerous opportunity time for entrepreneurs. If they see an opportunity, they tend to take it.”

Haddock said a lot of businesses never make it to this stage. “A lot of businesses tend to scale out, fizzle out or level out in the growth and development phase. Maturity is a fantastic feeling for our businesses,” he added. “And then comes the decline.”

The final stage was decline, where he said businesses either get too confident or age out.

“This decline is usually just, folks get tired,” he said. “You get tired of being self employed and doing the same thing every day.”

Haddock closed by stating the five things people should take away from his speech: First, businesses have to be able to know exactly where they stand financially; second, businesses must protect their data; third, businesses must treat their employees well; four, they must talk to their customers; and five, business owners must take care of themselves.

Haddock added that the SBA is a free agency that can help entrepreneurs at any of stage of their business career. For more information on SBA, visit wwwsba.gov..

Kaitlyn Rigdon can be reached at 870-862-6611 or krigdon@eldoradonews . com .