Small businesses, but big on passion

Small-business success often depends on the passion company leaders bring to bear

Our annual small-business special report remains one of my favorites of the year.

The companies on our annual Fast 50 and Top 25 8(a) lists are the reason. They are often niche players who have spotted a need in the marketplace that must be filled, and they maintain a sharp focus on that niche.

The companies also are nearly all run by their founders, which is what most often draws me in.

I’ve worked for a couple of founders during my career, and they can be a pain. They often think they know more about the business and market than anyone else. And that can lead them to be micromanagers.

Back in the days before e-mail, I had a boss who insisted on seeing every fax that came into the office.

But the flip side is passion. They love their business and pour every ounce of their souls into it. Being close to that drive can be inspiring. These leaders often are the best at distinguishing real opportunities from fads. At the same time, they also can be agile and chase new opportunities.

That is what I see when I look at the small businesses on our Fast 50 and Top 25 8(a) lists. These are companies that understand their markets and understand the opportunities that they have.

The lessons they can teach us are built on focus, customer service and — above all else — passion.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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