Guest opinion: Collaboration crucial for small businesses

Guest opinion: Collaboration crucial for small businesses

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Scott Brown

Scott Brown, owner of The Base Camp, in April 28, 2009.

 

In the world of business, too often the focus is on who is up and who is down. This competition seems to reach a fever pitch around the holidays as stores try to one-up each other with door buster deals. True enough, all businesses need to compete in order to better serve their customers. However, there’s a story of small business collaboration that is also needed to keep our economy diverse and strong.

According to the Small Business Administration, nearly half of the American workforce is employed by a small business. Small businesses are often called “the backbone of America’s economy.”

As small business owners, collaboration has offered us the support we’ve needed over the years to succeed and give back to our communities. While The Base Camp and Red Ants Pants have much different starting points and business models, we both rely heavily on sage advice from other small business owners who paved the way. Small business owners know their communities and have a firsthand understanding of what other entrepreneurs go through to make ends meet. Our communities know us personally and we are invested in our neighbors and neighborhoods.

That’s why we believe collaboration is crucial to our small business economy. For years, The Base Camp and Red Ants Pants have had an unofficial pipeline of collaboration as we’ve talked big ideas about the direction of Montana’s economy, opportunities for small businesses and ways for entrepreneurs in Montana’s small and large towns to better connect.

This holiday season, we wanted to take that spirit of working together to the next level. The headquarters for Red Ants Pants is in the middle of Montana, in White Sulphur Springs. While thousands make the trek there every year to try on Made in America work wear, we wondered whether folks might like to check them out while they are visiting The Base Camp in Helena. So, on Black Friday & Small Business Saturday, The Base Camp in Helena will be hosting a Red Ants Pants pop up shop.

As you consider ways to support small businesses this holiday season, we also want to celebrate what is possible when small businesses work together and collaborate to bring out the best in us all. When you consider the fact that small businesses created 8.4 million new jobs between 2000 and 2017, we all have a stake in the future of our small business economy.

The Base Camp and Red Ants Pants join the more than 30 million small businesses nationwide who are employing close to half of the nation’s workforce. Whether it’s Small Business Saturday or beyond, your hard-earned dollars can make an impact in supporting our small business economy while also having the lasting impact of contributing to a culture of collaboration.

Scott Brown is the owner and founder of The Base Camp in Billings and Helena. Sarah Calhoun is the owner of Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs, the director of the nonprofit Red Ants Pants Foundation, which has to date delivered $110,000 in grants to support women’s leadership, working family farms and ranches, and rural communities. 

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