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 www.25Under25.com and order tickets for the Ninth Annual Awards Dinner and Gala on February 27.