Join NEFS for Small Business Saturday!

When I decided to join the ranks of NEFS staff, I had no idea what was in store for me.  Coming from an education background (with a dollop of food service and childcare), I had no idea how many moving parts there would be, how many hats each individual gets to wear in order to keep things running smoothly.  Working for a small businesses has allowed me to explore interests and meet career goals that a large corporation would ignore.  This coming Saturday is Small Business Saturday, a day sponsored by American Express that celebrates this spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity, along with all the other perks of shopping at and working for a small business.  It is part of their Shop Small initiative; look at a map of small businesses in your area here.
I thought it would be useful to have some insight from a business veteran, and so I chatted with my manager, Chris Laverdiere, to see what it’s like for her to work at NEFS. Chris starts out simple: “In a local business, people know your name. People appreciate that. And a small business requires a lot more flexibility; every employee plays a critical role and makes a significant contribution.”  Customers arrive at any business with a story that is worth listening to, and NEFS and small businesses across the country and world take the time to listen. “A business can only succeed if they meet the needs of their customers,” Chris continues, “and at NEFS we try to both meet peoples’ needs and exceed their expectations.
Christine White, NEFS founder and owner, is always thinking one, two, three, or four steps ahead: what will be the next felting craze? What product will customers love? What classes will generate enthusiasm and introduce exciting techniques?  What can we let fall by the wayside? Any business thinks strategically like this, but small businesses have a unique relationship with customers and can respond directly to the people they come in contact with.  Christine also contemplates the productivity and happiness of her employees, a distinct benefit to working for a small business.  She often wonders how she can encourage growth while staying productive and efficient.  Being a small business means that she can tailor her goals to the personalities and strengths of real people instead of relying on generic stereotypes.  She even encourages us to take risks that could end in failure!  She writes, “Commit to letting fear be your motivator but don’t let it become your captor when you approach career goals.  If you give into fear, it will seduce you into an ever-shrinking, negative reality… Consequences are teachers and provide guidance because they give you quick feedback.  If you never take any risk, you’ll never light up these signposts to help direct yourself.”        Working for a small business has enriched my life and pushed me to grow in unexpected ways, and I know that my co-workers feel the same way.  Customers are real people, not just numbers, and the relationships I’ve cultivated are the most rewarding part of my job thus far.  I am immensely grateful, and I hope you come out and support small businesses on November 25th!

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