Carla Hall has guided many home cooks to master the perfect recipe. While the successful chef and popular culinary personality always has a welcoming presence both on screen and in person, Hall appreciates that food is his business.

Although she started years ago with her restaurant business, her current business operations are another version of a small business. Like other entrepreneurs, she understands that it takes a village to thrive.

As a collaborative partner of the UPS Store Small Biz Challenge, this program and contest aimed not only to celebrate small businesses, but also to build community. By sharing the stories of success, struggle, and even redemption, other business owners and entrepreneurs can understand that they are not alone in these experiences.

During a conversation with FoodSided, Carla Hall shared some of her thoughts on small business and what it takes to be successful.

As part of the event, Hall and other attendees participated in a panel discussion. For Hall, she found that the conversations offered value beyond the business advice shared in the discussions. Specifically, it was a way for others to understand that they didn’t have to suffer in silence.

Hall said, “When you realize that someone else is going through something or has been through something that you are going through,” it can seem less daunting. Having those peers who “say I get it” is sometimes the support people need.

Over the past year, many small businesses have struggled, but at the same time, others have seen how their local communities have been able to overcome them during these hardships. Hall believes that “communities have come together to keep as many businesses afloat as possible.” The descriptor of “pivot”, “adaptation” or some other word is not the focal point. It is the willingness to work hard, to accept help from the community, and to rely on the people within this support system that has made some small businesses successful.

Carla Hall remembered a story when she started her restaurant business. While she was an accounting student, this knowledge of school was only a piece of the business pie. Understanding food ordering trends, managing supplies and a variety of other aspects is not necessarily taught in these business courses.

With the help of a fellow businesswoman, Hall was able to compile marketing materials, prepare menus and put the company on the path to success. Hall believes that without this woman’s help, his restaurant business would have had an obstacle in its way. As the woman was ready to help, Hall had to accept this outstretched hand. This concept of shared responsibility is vital to the efforts of small businesses.

As Hall fostered her relationships with the people who wanted to help her, she believes business owners need to connect with their employees. If the employees don’t feel empowered in their role, they may not be as connected to this company’s desire to thrive. While a strong employer can create a better environment, the employee also has responsibilities.

While there aren’t any courses or books to be “a good employee,” the reality is that a small business is a small family. Although the boss may be in charge, this environment is not strong when individuals do not come together as a single collective unit. Just as an owner may need to take the outstretched hand of a mentor, the owner and employee must uplift each other to create the foundation for success.

While the Small Biz Challenge will highlight five finalists and eventually pick a winner, the lessons learned from this challenge outweigh the cash prizes awarded. Learning from others, accepting help, and building a supportive community are all building blocks of a successful business. Just as a home needs a solid foundation to withstand both storms and sunshine, a small business needs to build itself from the ground up with the help of others to elevate that future success.

Do you have any advice for a small business owner? Do you have a story to tell at FoodSided?

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