This past May, the WordPress.com design team set out to undertake the largest research study that the company had ever done. We spoke to 34 small business owners across the United States over the course of two weeks. Now that a few months have passed, the one thing that has stuck with me is the connection we heard between failure, learning, and relationships.
Running a small business is not easy and there are so many obstacles to overcome just to get started. I watched my husband go through the process two years ago and despite things going smoothly, the possibility of failure is a regular dinner conversation topic. So I wasn’t surprised to hear from the small business owners we spoke to that the fear of failure is always lurking in the back their mind. One thing they did to mitigate the risk of failure was to seek out ways to learn and expand their knowledge in subjects related to running their business. Their preferred method of learning was from peers, people who had been where they are today and understood the struggles and challenges that they face as a small business owner.
Having access to connections and a network of peers is a form of privilege. Privilege has been on my mind a lot this week thanks to the current events happening in U.S. politics. I’m left wondering about all the potential small business owners out there who don’t have access to a network of peers to learn and get support from. While technology will never be a replacement for human connection, we do have an opportunity to help small business owners feel less alone as they navigate the uncertainties of running their business.