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Small Business Ownership in Suburban America: Where Quality of Life Is Key

27. February 2017 08:27

main street in suburbia

The search for a better quality of life drives some small-business owners out of the city and into the suburbs. In fact, it drove cofounder of Vertucci Career Academy Rebecca Vertucci (@RebeccaVertucci), from New York City to Saratoga Springs. And she's not alone.

"Because our area is a tourist destination, many businesses focus on retail, restaurants, and tourism experiences," says Vertucci. "However, there are lots of people just like my husband and I, who moved from a metropolitan area looking for a better quality of life and decided to bring their corporate experience to small and medium businesses."

Is this a case of trying to have it all? Maybe. But it looks like a number of suburban business owners are living the dream – in part, because they're rethinking what the dream is.

In the second installment of our three-part series on location and small-business ownership, we'll see what defines suburban small businesses.

Finding Quality of Life in Your Location

The hustle and bustle of big city life is an attraction for some. But the business owners who set up shop in the 'burbs say they've found plenty of attractions there that impact their overall enjoyment of life.

"In Saratoga, we have been able to buy a house, and we have easy access to outdoor activities year round," says Vertucci. "Saratoga also has a great food and music scene, so we feel like there is so much to do here. We love it!"

And while an active social life is important, Vertucci also says that her move to the suburbs was smart for business reasons, too. First, she says finding affordable space in NYC had become almost impossible. But she also discovered her suburb had several active chambers that host events and breakout groups.

"I'm just as active here as I was in New York City," says Vertucci.

The same can be said for any number of suburbs across the United States. Real estate coach and serial entrepreneur Peter Vekselman (@coachpeterv) says his suburb of Cumming, Georgia is "well known locally for its outstanding schools and close proximity to Lake Lanier." According to Vekselman, this has helped spur growth and created a vibrant business community.

"You can be extremely active and network with dozens of local small-business owners," he says.

Pro tip: Location matters when it comes to your personal life, but it's important for your business success, too. Take advantage of the resources in your area. Learn why in "Should You Attend Local Small Business Networking Events?"

Finding Quality of Life through Work-Life Balance

Whether they are employer or employee, most people want a job that allows them to live a good life. For some, that may mean making bank. However, many entrepreneurs choose to open for business because they want a job that fits their values.

Take Jay and Susan Stype of Longmont, Colorado, for example. Before they started their Tutor Doctor (@TutorDrNoCo) franchise, Stype says he worked a 50 to 60 hour workweek and spent two and half hours commuting. Running his own business simply made sense with two young boys at home.

"I still work 50 or 60 hours a week – I just get to pick which 50 or 60 hours it is, and that makes a lot of difference," says Stype.

A big part of that difference was getting to do more with his family, like coaching his youngest son in youth football. But the Stypes found that a tutoring business brings other pleasures, too.

"We feel like we make a difference in our community, and that makes us feel good," Stype says. "We haven't recovered the corporate salary that I had, but the work-life balance is much better than it used to be. That and the job satisfaction made up for the money."

Pro tip: Money matters, but it can't replace the feeling of doing something you love.

Vertucci says, "Create a business you love, not a business you think others will love. If you don't love it, you won't stick with it."

City dwellers often start their businesses for similar reasons. Read their stories in the part one of the series: "Small Business Ownership in Urban America: Where Passion Meets Resources."

How Growing Your Business Can Boost Your Quality of Life

The final way suburban business owners find a decent quality of life is by being smart about how they grow their businesses. For example, Vekselman says small-business owners need to find their "true skill set" and maximize it to its full potential.

"Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking they need to be experts at everything when they start their business," he says. "They waste countless hours and energy on things they will never be good at, and consequently it hurts not only their business but also their personal development."

Instead, Vekselman chose to focus on his strengths – marketing and sales – and hire people with other skills to round out his team.

"Obviously, as a business owner, you can't take your eye off the ball, but focusing on what you do best will help your company grow faster," he says.

Pro tip: According to our Small Business Outlook 2017, 82 percent of business owners are planning growth this year. If you're one of them, look to hire someone whose skill set compliments yours. It's a good way to cover your bases.

About the Contributors

Susan and Jay Stype

Jay Stype and his wife Susan opened Tutor Doctor in May 2011, after nearly 26 years working in the healthcare industry. They enjoy the opportunity to provide a valuable service in the community and love to hear their students' success stories. They live in Longmont, Colorado, with their teen sons, Logan and Dylan.




Peter Vekselman

Peter Vekselman is the owner of three Atlanta-area businesses, including RBP Investments, Coaching By Peter, and The Muse Group affiliated with PalmerHouse Properties. Vekselman has been involved in real estate as an investor, contractor, developer, and lender for more than a decade. He has bought and sold more than 3,000 properties, and his construction company has handled 100+ projects. As a private lender, he has managed a portfolio of over $10 million.



Rebecca Vertucci

Rebecca Vertucci is a proven expert on recruiting, hiring, and all things LinkedIn. As a cofounder of Vertucci Career Academy, Vertucci shares her extensive knowledge and unique perspective with job seekers and those in career transitions through her online course offerings, as well as one-on-one and group coaching programs.





Small Business | Small Business Trends | Tips for All Small Businesses

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