WHAT DO TINY BUSINESSES TEACH US ABOUT A LEGACY?
by DARRYL WELLINGTON
It’s plain to see that everyone wants to have a legacy.
Everyone wants for friends, family, and loved ones to remember them fondly. Everyone wants to live for a short while, or a long, long while in memory. And the essence of “a legacy” will be the feeling that a life has left behind a lesson, which others should cherish and value.
There is a difference between a legacy and mere words of obligatory flattery muttered out of respect for the bygone. Those words may be insincere.
A legacy is achieved when the lingering memories tell a story that inspires everyone, even strangers. It isn’t much of an accomplishment to leave behind bad memories of injustice, exploitation, or harassment.
A genuine legacy is like a proverb that touches everyone in an inspirational way. It’s a story with a good moral. And everyone who has been inspired by it will leave it
behind to others!
DO TINY BUSINESSES MATTER ENOUGH TO LEAVE BEHIND LEGACIES?
The short answer is — YES THEY DO.
For ConNECKedTOO, we asked several participants, local business owners and members of our Collective to describe their legacy, or what the thought of leaving “a legacy” meant to them. These are a few of the responses from Charleston’s own – our friends, neighbors, and generational residents, mostly TINY Business Owners!
“My legacy will be my business and my children” – Terry Seabrook, The Space Company
“The legacy I received is being a Barber. The legacy I will leave is my craft” – Sammy Smalls,
Fresh Cuts Barber
“The legacy I received is building on top of everyone” – Taylor Faulkner, Artist & Craftsman Supply
“I received my Dad’s business and I will leave the same or a better life for my children” – Jozetta Singleton, Singleton’s Paint & Body Shop
“The legacy I received is made of my Dad’s and Parents thoughts on life. And I will leave my career as a business owner/self-employed” – Anthony Smith, Smitty’s Super Seven Barbershop
“I received the barbershop through MR Lawrence. I will leave the work I’ve done + my desire to teach more life skills to young people so that they keep hopes” – Thad Miller, Family Barbershop
“My legacy is still a work-in-progress” – Perrin Middleton, C.O.Federal Credit Union
It’s obvious from looking through the answers that people pair the idea
of having a legacy with thoughts of children.
TINY Business owners want to instill their business with values like empathy, responsibility and conscientiousness. These are the same values they want to instill in their children, or future children, or hypothetical children!
For business owners their legacy represents their face in the future – like a child who perpetuates their features, speaks their own words (with some adjustments to changing times) and represents their intrinsic humanity.
TINY Businesses in contrast to impersonal corporations, giant chain stores, or franchises are the best conduits of the human and empathetic face of the future. It’s the global marketplace and the Walmart chains that are sacrificing the values of legacy to consumerism. Corporations today present the public with a bland, or blank face. Yes, many pretend to believe in a “legacy”, which they promote using catchy multi-million dollar advertising.
A legacy that’s cynically mass-produced isn’t the real goods.
It’s a real legacy when businesses ask themselves “How well did we support our employees and family?” “How well did we treat our customers?” “How well did we survive?” And the workers and the customers agree and answer “You did all three!! With consistent excellence!”
It’s because TINY Businesses are in the best position to meet employees and customers individual needs, and build a legacy based on trust, service and communal values that the TINY IS POWERFUL!!!