#SmallBusinessBigHeart

Under a streetlight. Over a coffee. Or a beer (or four). In your sleep. In the shower. Absolutely anywhere, really. All it takes is three seconds of inspiration and courage, and that’s it, a small business is birthed.

Seema Seth
4 min readMar 15, 2018

The last eight years have taught me many lessons. I’m starting to see things differently now. I can identify the mistakes I’ve made, and it’s frustrating that I can’t go back and fix them. So instead, I’m channeling that here, for myself, and for the five people who may read this.

Being an entrepreneur, an independent design consultant, and a brand creator has been the best decision I’ve ever made. Being a creative spirit, I like to experiment with ideas, and having the freedom to explore the things that interest me. But boy, there is so much I want to do differently hereon.

Created using ’s Dropcap postcards + Pantone swatches.

What I learnt:

  1. We think with our hearts first: As a small business owner, I realise that a lot of my decisions are based on my instincts. I go by what feels right. I recently listened to an insightful podcast by India’s beloved pastry chef Pooja Dhingra, where she talks about the importance of evaluating data, reports and trends, and starting to include that in her decision-making process, as her business scaled-up. Super practical.
  2. We dig deep: Small business owners don’t have large teams. Most of us start as individuals, or maybe as a team of three to four people. We don’t have the luxury to stay within a defined job profile. From personal experience, you have to dip your fingers in every pie, so to speak. You need to understand your brand inside out — finances, marketing, logistics, sales, distribution, production, design, customer service, business development — everything. And I find that absolutely beautiful. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, and taught me things I would never learn otherwise. And that only makes you stronger, because you’re in tune with every single aspect of your business. But, I wish I’d included more people in my team earlier on. Bringing in extra hands and minds can only help you get to a better place.
  3. We love Mondays: We don’t let go. We don’t back down. We don’t sleep. We don’t give up. I’ve run a small business for over eight years now. It’s been tough, honestly. Of course I’ve had days when I wanted to walk away, but did I? Nope, I can’t. I’m stubborn. I’m determined to make it work. Every morning, I start afresh. And every Monday holds a new promise.
    But sometimes, it’s wise to let go, before it’s too late. You have to make the healthy choice. You have to make the unemotional decision. I’m still learning this skill, unsuccessfully. Because I still think with my heart! (It’s a vicious cycle) :)

What I wish every single small business-owner would do:

  1. Be a cheerleader: I can’t stop talking about cheerleaders, because the world needs more of us. It’s one of my strongest personal beliefs, borrowed from — my source of inspiration. We need to support one another — cheer each other on. We’ll only do better, if we stop competing with each other, and start supporting one another. If you come across a new local brand that you like, share it with friends, talk about them on social media, and please buy from them. Spread the love. My new rule is to gift only from small brands, and mostly from brands/ stores owned by friends. In fact, for Association of Designers of India, an organisation I volunteer with, for every event that we host, the gifts are sourced ONLY from Bengaluru-based designers. It’s our little way of promoting the local design community.
  2. Create an actionable plan: Don’t stagnate. You need to know, from day zero, what the larger vision for the future is. And you need a plan to get there — an annual plan, quarterly plan, monthly plan, weekly plan. Hold yourself accountable. ‘Going with the flow’ is a beautiful concept, but the hard truth is that you need a clear pathway to success and growth. And no, growth isn’t only about a good-looking excel sheet; I’m also talking about personal and professional growth here.

What I need help with:

  1. I‘d like to make #SmallBusinessBigHeart an initiative for home-grown brands. But I’m not 100% clear about the potential, or what this actually means. Any ideas/ suggestions on what such an initiative should be doing? Any gaps that you can help me identify?
  2. If you’re an investor, talk to me about your observations/ learnings on working with various brands?

To all the big hearts out there — shine on. And once again, over to you, universe :)

If you’d like to talk to me about any of this, email me on seema@studiosky.in

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