Welcome to The Small Business Show!

Each week Dave Hamilton and Shannon Jean discuss topics related to starting, growing and managing your small business. You’ll find real-world advice from ourselves as well as from other business owners. Listen in and learn from our mistakes, share your successes and generally have a good time talking about small businesses.

Listen to the latest episodes of The Small Business Show below and subscribe to keep listening each week.

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You can also leave us a voicemail message or send us a text at 401-472-4249. Ask a question, tell a story or make a comment that we can share on the show!

Transitioning from Worker to Teacher – Small Business Interview with Harald Sinow of MacStation and Creo Development : SBS 89

transition from worker to teacherHow easy was it for you to make the transition from doing the day-to-day work in your Small Business to teaching others to do it so you could focus on the business? Harald Sinow, co-founder of MacStation in Vancouver, realized that he needed to change his focus from being the best worker to being the best teacher if he wanted to grow his business.

Join us today on the Small Business Show to learn how Harald focused on this transition as well as cash flow and hiring to insure his business would succeed. We also discuss creating a “family” from your customers as well as your employees and how to “fire yourself” as quick as you can so your best people can do their best work.

We wrap up the show with a discussion of what happened after Harald sold his company, the impact of taking a year off to tour Europe to reconnect with his family and helping to launch young Small Business owners (Harald’s kids!).

This was an especially useful show, folks. If you are interested in creating, or continuing your own Charmed Life, listen in!

Chapters/Timestamps and Links:

00:00:00 Small Business Show #89 October 19th, 2016
00:01:18 Interview with Harald Sinow – Co-founder of MacStation in Vancouver
00:02:20 Used college classes as development study for MacStation
00:02:52 Timing matters!
00:04:33 Manage your cash flow
00:06:48 Transitioning to management – hire slowly and fire quickly
00:08:24 Have a hiring process that limits your ability to make mistakes
00:10:44 Word of mouth matters. Be diligent about tracking your customers
00:12:00 Manage your referrals.
00:13:00 Build a “family” from your customers – tracking their unique details
00:14:03No one can do it better than I can
00:15:00 Become a Good Teacher
00:16:26 Favorite mistake: “Not firing myself soon enough”
00:17:08 Build a great culture – have fun. Being able to let go – best measure of success.
00:19:48 Make sure your business is Built to Sell
00:22:08 Traveling and exploring helps to find what you’ll do at home
00:24:28 Sending your kids into the Dragons’ Den!
00:27:57 Find an accountability partner

Empowering Employees and Effective Customer Communication – Small Business Show Episode 88

empowering employeesAre you involved in every decision that your employees make? Would you like to grow your business, decrease headaches and free up some much needed time? We thought so. Today on the Small Business Show, Dave and Shannon discuss how “not to be in charge” all the time and empowering your employees to make the right decisions.

Dave shares some stories about being so concerned about communicating with customers that he would write the email responses and give them to his employees to send out. Dave now says: don’t do this! Shannon brings up the concept of repetitive email templates to handle similar issues that come up over and over with your customer service department as well as using a communication management service like HelpScout to insure everyone is on the same page when it comes to communicating with your customers.

We then jump into a discussion of “magic phrases” that build trust with your customers and help convince them that you are on their side and we wrap up the show with a quick discussion on refunds and handling them correctly.

Join us today as we discuss letting go and communication across teams with your customers on the Small Business Show, episode 88!




00:00:00 Small Business Show #88 October 12th, 2016
00:01:14 How to not be in charge
00:07:19 Singularity of purpose
00:08:47 Empowering People
00:11:41 Resist the temptation to write your employee’s emails
00:16:36 Using Help Scout to homogenize your company’s communications <https://www.helpscout.net>
00:19:35 “Magic Phrases” – words and phrases that build trust and convince the customer you are on their side.
00:22:12 Prioritizing the customer
00:24:00 Refunds are tricky business
00:29:38 Communicating with the customer – ongoing discussion about what is going on. “Show notes” or “tech notes”

Building a Facebook Small Business Group – Small Business Show episode 87

small business facebook groupOn this episode of the Small Business Show, Dave and Shannon talk about the development of the Small Business Facebook Group, what went wrong at the beginning and what is going right with the Group after making some (much needed!) changes. We discuss how Small Business owners are using the new group to get critical feedback on their websites and apps, how a political discussion really can be productive while taking into account different viewpoints and much more. You’ll want to be sure to join the new Small Business Group to get in on the discussion!

Dave then shares 5 traits that Apple CEO Tim Cook looks for when hiring employees and Shannon questions the viability of using those tips with every employee type. Read the article, then share your thoughts!

We wrap up the show with a quick discussion about the new Facebook Marketplace that is being re-launched this week. Are Craigslist and eBay worried? Will you use the FB Marketplace for your business? We will continue to discuss this new selling venue as it evolves.

Join us today on the Small Business Show for these topics and more!



00:00:00 Small Business Show #87 October 5th, 2016
00:01:00 Managing time: Look for the busiest person
00:02:47 Lessons learned creating our new Facebook Group
00:05:29 Tim Cook’s Traits of an employee
00:11:00 Rob asks us and you to evaluate his website
00:13:48 Taxes: Legality vs. Morality
00:21:24 Facebook Marketplace

Politics vs. Bureaucracy and how both impact your Small Business – Small Business Show 86

Politics and how it impacts your small businessAs we all enjoy the Political Theatre that is our current Presidential Election, Dave and Shannon decide to focus this week’s topic on Politics and how it can (and will) impact your Small Business.

Join us as we discuss Dave’s “crazy theory of politics”, looking at the “why” instead of just the “who” when hearing a political message and how to deal with National vs. State and Local politics that might be messing with your Small Business. Of course,  no Small Business political discussing would be complete without touching on new laws about Exempt and Hourly employees and the minimum wage requirements for both.

Finally, we chat about the concept of it being better to “Ask forgiveness instead of permission” and how it is NOT a good idea when it comes to dealing with local, state or federal laws.

Join us today on the Small Business Show for these topics and more! If you enjoy the show, click over to give us a quick review on iTunes. We appreciate it!


00:00:00 Small Business Show #86 September 28th, 2016
00:00:45 Political Theater
00:01:58 Dave’s crazy theory
00:05:34 Who’s sending the message?
00:08:50 National vs. Local
00:09:46 Healthcare, Minimum Wage
00:10:00 “Exempt” employees
00:14:05 No such thing as forgiveness
00:14:41 Zenefits
00:16:08 The wheels of Congress move slowly, but they move!
00:20:10 As it gets closer to home, pay more and more attention
00:25:19 Tinfoil Hat: Unelected Bureaucrats
00:27:44 Customs can be the worst!

Turning Small Business Mistakes Into Profitable Opportunities –  SBS 85


small business mistakes are opportunitiesAs Small Business owners, when posting to public social media, what are some things you should look out for? What comments could come back (maybe years later) to cause you headaches, legal problems and money? Dave and Shannon discuss some examples of what NOT to post on social media and that leads into a discussion about Mistakes as Opportunities.

When a supplier makes a mistake, Shannon explains, there’s an opportunity to leverage that mistake into a closer relationship (if you want one), a better price and more opportunity for future business. When you are the customer, there are several ways to make the most of a mistake with your supplier or service provider.

On the flip side, when you or your business make a mistake with a customer, you have a huge opportunity to earn their trust by making things right. Customers that experience just how good you or your employees are at fixing mistakes and solving problems typically become very loyal and very happy to spread the word about just how good you are.

Join us today on episode 85 of the Small Business Show to hear about these topics and more!


00:00:00 Small Business Show #85 September 21st, 2016
00:01:43 Being overwhelmed … and powering through it.
00:05:36 Publicly discussing hiring and firing specifics
00:17:59 Maximizing Mistakes
00:26:57 Changing contacts
00:29:29 Offer the return first.

Boss Life Author Follow-up, the benefits of being unemployable

business teamwork keeping your employees happyWelcome to episode 84 of the Small Business Show! Join us this week as we spend some time following up with our recent interview with Small Business owner, NYTimes.com blogger and author, Paul Downs.

Dave and Shannon then jump into a discussion about being “patently unemployable” and how identifying yourself as such can give a boost to the successful launch of your Small Business.

Other topics covered on the show today include the tremendous benefit of creating a safe environment for your employees to take risks and experiment.

Listen in and then jump over to iTunes to review the Small Business Show! We appreciate your support, the reviews really help!


00:00:00 Small Business Show #84 September 14th, 2016
00:03:14 Paul Downs Recap
00:08:03 Patently unemployable people can be helpful
00:10:08 Creating a safe environment for your employees
00:16:07 “All I had to do was write the book”
00:17:33 Don’t be so suspect about good people with opportunities

Paul Downs, author of Boss Life and NYT Small Business Blogger Interview – SBS 83

boss life bookHow prepared are you for the challenges of running your small business? What energizes you to make it through tough times and just how transparent are you (and should you be) to your employees and everyone else that you discuss your business with?  If you felt like your business was about to shut down, could you imagine reaching out to the New York Times with an offer to share the experience with thousands of people? Paul Downs thought it would make for a good story and he wrote for the NYTimes.com for 4-years before writing a “year in the life of my business” book: Boss Life.

You’ve never read a business book like Boss Life. The book quickly joined our list of “must reads” for all current and potential business owners. The work is the most honest and transparent business book that we have ever read and we encourage all of you to read it.

Today, Paul Downs joins Dave Hamilton and Shannon Jean on the Small Business Show where they dig a bit deeper into Paul’s story, into Boss Life and into the work ethic that has kept Paul in business for over 30-years.

Listen in and then help your fellow small business owners out by doing a quick review of the Small Business Show on iTunes.


00:00:00 Small Business Show #83 September 7th, 2016
00:01:05 Boss Life author Paul Downs – “Not suited to working for other people”
00:05:15 2008 Recession – laid off half staff – sure I was about to go out of business.
00:06:00 What would it be like to drive a business into the ground?
00:07:09 Make the offer
00:09:33 (Don’t) Hide until you’re successful
00:11:25 Think through your problems by talking about them and writing them down – this is what the NYT Blog did for Paul
00:13:45 Hang onto your threads. They’re all you’ve got.
00:15:13 Define your own definition(s) of failure
00:16:12 Be a clear thinker
00:16:57 Share your problems – with real small businesses “Real Businesses” – love this.
00:21:23 The genesis of Boss Life – The experience of running a business
00:29:57 Understanding profitability
00:31:55 Being candid won’t kill you.
00:34:04 Find out about Paul Downs Custom Conference Tables

Adjusting Your Sleep Schedule, Recognizing Your Expertise and Planned Obsolescence – Small Business Show 82

expert small business ownerAs Small Business owners, we’re always hustling and sleep can often be a casualty of the “up late, up early” workflow. What do you do when your brain just won’t shut down long enough to get some much needed sleep? Listener Elias asks Dave and Shannon for advice about disconnecting enough to fall asleep. Their suggestion might surprise you!

You’re an expert in some things and probably need help in other areas. We spend some time discussing why you should create an Expertise List to identify what you do really well and what areas you need to find some tools or people to prop you up a bit. Similar to our Success List exercise, the simple act of writing down what you are good at can help you tremendously to identify areas to get help with.

What areas of your business are changing? Yes, we know, all of them. But, if you had to pick revenue streams that you think will be decreasing in the next 12-24 months, could you? And once you identify those revenue streams that are drying up, what are you working on to replace them? We discuss Planned Obsolescence for areas of your business that are headed downward – the art of finding new streams of revenue for your business, before those older streams dry up.

We wrap up the Small Business Show this week with a quick mention of our interview with Paul Downs that is scheduled for next week. Paul was the Small Business blogger for the New York Times and is the author of Boss Life, a book you need to get your hands on.

Listen in and send us your comments or questions via text at 401-472-4249 or visit our Facebook page. We hope you enjoy the show!

Chapters and Timestamps:

  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #82 August 31st, 2016
  • 00:01:50 Elias – Waking Up in the middle of the night?
  • 00:07:05 The Obstacle Is the Way
  • 00:08:23 Reminders app
  • 00:09:10 Notes app
  • 00:13:42 Make Your Own Expertise List
  • 00:17:35 And One for Your Employees?
  • 00:20:54 Planned Obsolescence – It happens to YOU
  • 00:26:00 Shannon Says “Verticals”
  • 00:28:44 Perseverance – Next week with Paul Downs

Staying Healthy While Running Your Small Business – Small Business Show Episode 81

staying healthy while running small businessHow to you stay healthy and keep your energy level up while you are hustling to make your Small Business a success? Join Dave and Shannon for episode 81 of the Small Business Show to hear about how these two have managed while starting and growing multiple small businesses.

Before we jump into health and energy, we start the show with a quick discussion of encryption and why it’s so important for your Small Business website. Dave discusses a new free option, Let’s Encrypt, that allows you to setup free security certificates for your website.

After the exciting topic of encryption (Dave the nerd loves talking tech!), we jump right into bed. To discuss sleep, of course, and why it’s important to set a sleep schedule based on your energy levels, rather than traditional hours – if you have the flexibility to do so.

Food then takes center stage as the benefits of grazing vs. big meals is discussed, followed by another favorite: Caffeine! Red Bull or Coffee? You make the call! We then jump into (no pun intended) exercise, the benefits of walks and again, coming up with an exercise plan that works for you.

Finally, we point out that your business is not your life and that to keep healthy, you need to often step away and work ON your business, not in it. We recommend the awesome book, Rework from the folks at 37 Signals. Check it out and listen in to hear more!

Failure, Success, a Business in Your Pocket and New Books! Small Business Show episode 80

small business successJoin us today for episode 80 of the Small Business Show where we spend some time discussing our recent interview with Greg Mercer of JungleScout! Dave and Shannon both agree that Greg is a “career escape artist” and has created a unique business to take advantage of missing data and support in the Amazon FBA marketplace.

We also talk about the difference between failing often as a Small Business Owner (which we encourage) vs. being flakey (which we don’t). One way to insure your failures are learning lessons that help you to success is to hold yourself accountable, more accountable than anyone else will.

Our Success List idea comes up again during the show and we encourage every Small Business owner to start building their list to refer back to when you need to pull yourself up, to recognize that you are making strides and moving in the right direction.

Since it’s a mix of topics today, we also get an update on Shannon’s “Can I create a social media business that runs solely on my iPhone” experiment. You’ll hear some revenue and profit numbers and more tips on managing time demands when your business is always in your pocket.

Finally, we discuss our favorite new Small Business book, Boss Life by Paul Downs, 2nd only to the E-Myth in our opinion. Which book should you read first and why? Listen in to find out!