Working in a Small Space Without Feeling Claustrophic

I get claustrophobic very easily. Yet, I work in a small space and never feel claustrophobic. That’s because the small space our team works in is “small business,” and for many small businesses, the sky is the limit when it comes to new ideas. Hardly a confining space.

Small businesses are the ultimate “Big Thinkers.” They have to think bigger not just to grow their businesses, but often just to survive with limited resources. Often they have to be innovative just to get things done.

Working and playing in this “small” space has been especially rewarding for us. We watch companies carve a niche and create successful businesses in areas where we never dreamed you could make money. We’ve watched businesses struggle mightily to get off the ground and then once they hit their stride, their trajectory is straight up. Take Joe and Judy Roetheli, the makers of Greenies dog treats, for example. When I met them, they were maxed out on more than two dozen credit cards, and I didn’t know what was keeping them going. But they grew that company to be one of Kansas City’s modern-day success stories and eventually sold to Mars in May 2006. I’m also proud to say they were one of our 25 Under 25 winners.

Another one of our 25 Under 25 winners, Transportation Logistics Systems, is owned by Melody Warren. Recently Melody Warren, president and CEO of Transportation Logistics Systems, was appointed chairwoman for KC SmartPort. Not a small feat for a business owner. Notably, Melody is also the first woman to serve as chair of KC SmartPort. KC SmartPort is an economic development organization that works to build the transportation industry in the 18-county, bi-state Kansas City area and make it a top-rated logistics hub. The organization strives to attract businesses with significant transportation and logistics elements, and to make it cheaper, faster, more efficient, and secure for companies to move goods into, from, and through Kansas City. Kudos to Melody for her hard work and “big thinking” during her many years in the transportation industry – all of which earned her this latest appointment.

On the cusp of our Ninth Annual 25 Under 25 Awards, I’d just like to thank all of our 25 Under 25 alumni and all the “big thinking” small business owners in Kansas City for the opportunity to get to know you. Let’s work together to make the small business space in Kansas City a space that’s “crowded” with success.

To meet the 25 Under 25 Class of 2010, visit and order tickets for the Ninth Annual Awards Dinner and Gala on February 27.


About Smart Companies Thinking Bigger®

Kelly Scanlon is the owner and publisher of Thinking Bigger Business Media. She recently finished a term on the national board of directors of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and was the national chair from 2010-2011. An advocate for small business owners, Kelly sits on numerous boards and committees to advocate on behalf of small business owners. She has won several awards for her advocacy. Among them are the 2011 United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award on behalf of Kansas City area small business owners, the U.S. Small Business Administration's Region VII Women's Business Champion of the Year in 2009, and the Women in Business Advocate of the Year from the State of Kansas in 2006. In 2002, she won the SBA's Region VII Small Business Journalist of the Year Award (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas). Whatever your business stage—aspiring, startup, established, mature—Thinking Bigger Business Media has the resources you need to grow to the next level. We are a resource organization dedicated to providing the strategic, "how-to" information small business owners need to become more productive and more profitable. We also provide information that helps owners connect with resources within the business community that can help them grow. We deliver that information through a variety of media products and other channels easily accessible to business owners.
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