National Small Business Week: It’s Personal for Our Employees | Part 1


It’s the third day of National Small Business Week, and we’re highlighting some of our employees with small business roots to continue our celebrations.

 

Chasity Reach Beavers

Chasity is an online marketing consultant located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Fun fact: Chasity and her husband met on the baseball field when they were coaching their sons’ opposing teams. A year later, they got married on the field! (They’re still coaching, but now they’re on the same team.)

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Small businesses have been part of my life since I was old enough to remember.

My father was a truck driver. When I was in second grade, he decided he had to find a way to be home with me more. It all started when he built a single picnic table. Then he was selling them as fast as he could build them.  And I’d be right there alongside him, soaking it all in and helping however I could. In fact, I learned to use a scroll saw at the age of eight!

I’d go with him to buy lumber and supplies, to deliver orders, to set up at various markets and to do all the other tasks that fall on a small business owner. This is how I fell in love with marketing! There’s nothing I looked forward to more than a photo shoot, newspaper article or home and garden show.

My father grew that business to the point of being able to leave his full-time job and support our family with it! At its peak, Built to Last Woodworks had 23 employees and occupied the largest building in town. Dad was passionate about quality, safety, customer service and keeping his word. We built all kinds of outdoor furniture, seasonal lawn decor, gazebos, play sets and more… and we sold to people all over the Southeast.

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When I look back, I’m amazed that he was able to grow the business and reach so many places without the internet. Of course, the internet and a major change in the lumber industry would be what eventually caused him to shut his doors. As more and more people started to search and shop online, Dad fought to keep himself in front of his customers and prospects. He knew he needed to be online, he just couldn’t figure out how to make it work. I was in college during his final years as a full-time businessman.

When I graduated, I followed my passion for marketing and went into commercial printing. I loved it, but I wanted to climb the corporate ladder and left marketing for food-service sales. I’ve always heard money can’t buy happiness, but, until you experience it for yourself, you can’t really understand.

I was making more money than ever, flying from place to place, driving a company car… and I was miserable. Food-service sales didn’t make me want to jump out of bed in the morning, and it certainly didn’t fulfill my heart.

As I do with most important things in life, I went to my dad for help. He looked me in the face and said, “Chas. Go back and do what you love and help people like me.”

I knew exactly what he meant. I had made my rounds in the world of marketing and sales, but the online aspect was what I lacked. I set out on a mission to find a company that could help small business owners truly grow online. I finally found Townsquare Interactive. They seemed to really get it!

I’m now over three years in and could not be more proud of all the business owners I’ve been able to help.  Needless to say, Dad is proud too!

 

May Ly

May is the head of training events at Townsquare Interactive.
Fun fact: She enjoys surfing and golfing when she can.

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My family owned a small Chinese restaurant in Delmenhorst, Germany. Our business and home life were truly intertwined since the restaurant was downstairs and our tiny apartment (home to my parents and their five children) was upstairs.

My mom managed the front of the house, and my stepdad managed the kitchen. All of us kids had to work the holidays and help out, as well. I loved cashing out customers, since I would get to keep some of the tip as my allowance.

My parents’ daily routine started early in the morning to prep the kitchen before the lunch rush. Between lunch breaks, my mom would try to squeeze in a quick nap, just to wake up and do it all over again from 11-12. After the doors closed for the day, she had to handle invoices and payroll and, of course, clean up after five dirty children who’d been unattended for the majority of the day.

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Now, when I speak to small business owners, I light up when I see their passion for their business. They embrace the work it takes to start and maintain a business, often with the hope that, one day, their kids will take it over. Many of these small business owners work 70+ hours and are deeply involved in sales, delivery, payroll and more.

While online marketing is a must for clients, does it make sense for them to add another 10 hours a week to learn about metatags and writing original content for their site? What about Facebook? Now that I’m in the role that I am and sitting across the table from them, it’s my job to hear them out and understand where we can help.

I believe owning a small business requires a lot of guts and a lot of hard work that often don’t pay off until years down the road. I learned to listen, to bring an outside perspective in and to find areas the owners might have missed because they don’t get a lot of time to reflect. Only then we can dig into the opportunities SEO, a great website and social media can bring to the table.

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