Support, encouragement and accountability

Understanding how S.E.A. can help is vital to the long-term success and stability of any business

Cheri Perry

All people thrive in an environment of Support, Encouragement & Accountability. There may be no better place to recognize that truth than in the small and family owned businesses of our community.

There are 30.2 million small businesses in America; which comprise 99% of all U.S. businesses (SBA Office of Advocacy). According to the City of Vancouver, “Small businesses are the core of Vancouver’s economy & they make up 95% of all businesses in our city.”

With so many small and family owned businesses, you would think that Support, Encouragement & Accountability (S.E.A.) would be commonplace. As a family business owner, I can tell you that they are not! There are many reasons that small-business owners do not feel or experience the advantages of S.E.A. We are busy! Our lives are filled with distractions, too many commitments, not enough help, poor networking or business accountability group options, and the list goes on and on. But the truth is that family business owners can run themselves ragged trying to juggle everything it takes to run a successful business.

If we don’t take some time to push the pause button to Breathe in Support, to be Embraced by Encouragement & to be Lifted by Accountability, we run the risk of burning out or becoming bitter in the battle that is business ownership. Understanding how S.E.A. can help is vital to the long-term success and stability of any business. Family owned businesses have the most to gain as they have a direct impact on so many lives in our community!

SUPPORT: Surrounding yourself with likeminded people, moving in the same direction as you and your business, offers the kind of support needed to handle the daily rigors of business ownership. For example, a supported business owner may learn of a new software system that could help to automate key processes. Without a supportive environment, it might take much longer to find such innovative tools. We all need access to great advice, other people’s experience and the tools that help our businesses run more smoothly. In an environment of support, we get all of those things and something perhaps even greater – a feeling that we are not alone.

ENCOURAGEMENT: Knowing that you have the right tools is great but without some solid encouragement, discouragement is a natural result of the daily grind of running a business. Having people around to recognize your achievements and bolster you when things don’t go as planned can really make a substantial difference. Many family business owners have reported that an encouraging word or note helped them to hang on another day. On the other hand, I’ve met several struggling business owners who felt isolated when encouragement was not present. When business owners feel supported & encouraged they weather the storm better and their businesses tend to prosper. Especially when they add the third element of success.

ACCOUNTABILITY: Being your own boss or working in a family business can sometimes mean that you have no one to be accountable to. Eventually, we will all be held accountable by our clients but for day-to-day tasks, a business owner needs to be intentional about adding a layer of accountability. Why? Without it, many businesses fail to reach goals or grow as well as they could. This stagnation causes a lack of opportunity for those they employ. Our business has grown pretty steadily over the years however, when we added our business coach, things really started running better and in the right direction financially. When you have a business coach or community that is “watching” your daily, weekly, monthly progress – there is an added amount of pressure to perform. Since all growth happens outside of the comfort zone, strong accountability partners help us reach further and achieve new heights.

If you own one of these family based businesses: THANK YOU! You are the HEARTBEAT of our community.

If you work for one of these business: THANK YOU! I hope you know how valuable you are.

No matter who you are, please find ways to support and encourage these amazing people who are responsible for 95% of the businesses in our community.

Taking the time to push the pause button to Breathe in Support, to be Embraced by Encouragement & to be Lifted by Accountability, gives EVERY business owner a much better opportunity to not only reach but EXCEED their dreams and goals – that means better businesses, healthier families and stronger communities.

Cheri Perry is co-owner, with her husband Dean, of Total Merchant Concepts, Inc., a credit card processing business, in Vancouver. She can be reached at

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