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!

Small Business Interview with Sara Beznicki of A Gilded Leaf – Small Business Show 107

What if you were tasked with taking a thriving brick and mortar business with an established clientele and transitioning it to an ecommerce business selling a completely different product line to a new demographic? How would you handle the stress of trying to keep existing customers happy while attracting new customers to grow the business? Sara Beznicki and Isabelle Tan jumped into this situation in 2015, leaving the corporate world to successfully launch A Gilded Leaf to find new customers and growth, while protecting the companies existing customer base.

Join us today on the Small Business Show to hear about how the company sells on multiple marketplaces and converts customers to direct purchasing from their website, how independent user testing helped to change their website design and how focusing on specific customer groups rather than just sheer numbers has helped the business grow.

After the show, join in on the conversation on the Small Business Support Group! 


  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #107 February 22, 2017
  • 00:00:58 Sara Beznicki from A Gilded Leaf Jewelry <https://www.agildedleaf.com>
  • 00:02:52 Changing your parents’ business
  • 00:03:24 moving from corporate to small business – doing it all. Many tasks –
  • 00:07:02 Going to where the customers are
  • 00:10:13 Try, try and try again. Don’t get stuck.
  • 00:10:41 Use UserTesting.com to test your site <https://www.usertesting.com>
  • 00:12:24 Shopify Platform <https://www.shopify.com>
  • 00:14:02 Use Pinterest and then boost
  • 00:16:00 Brick and mortar to Appointment Only
  • 00:17:24 Robots don’t buy your products!
  • 00:19:33 Customer feedback as a success metric
  • 00:21:06 Stay Calm

Evil Multitasking or Powerful Spotlighting to Manage Your Time – Small Business Show 106

multitasking small businessHow many tasks are you “managing” at one time? How effective are you while doing those things and how does multitasking impact your creativity? Join us this week on episode 106 of the Small Business Show and find out how your hosts deal with the urge to instantly respond to Slack posts and Messages.

Dave brings up the concept of Spotlighting vs. Multitasking after Shannon explains his typical method of quickly jumping in and out of many different tasks during the day. We also discuss ways to push back on distractions and how to bring back some of that missing downtime in your life.

Finally, since the guys love “Spotlighting” from one topic to another, you’ll here about the concept of allocating as much time to the news as it impacts your life. This proportional allocation can help to put things in perspective.

So, turn off all those distractions and listen in to this episode of the Small Business Show!


  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #106 February 15, 2017
  • 00:02:16 The power of powering through
  • 00:04:20 Why You Shouldn’t Multitask
  • 00:07:48 Don’t multitask, Spotlight instead
  • 00:12:45 Implied urgency
  • 00:15:33 Internal vs. External distractions
  • 00:16:22 Downtime is when good ideas come
  • 00:19:13 Allocating proportional time to the news
  • 00:23:08 Understanding your own mental bandwidth… and living within it.
  • 00:27:33 Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Messaging
  • 00:29:48 SBS Outtro

Planning for failure? Use the Pre-Mortem technique to test your project or business concept– Small Business Show 105

use the pre-mortem to test your ideaThe thought of even pretending to fail is anathema to your hosts on the Small Business Show. However, Dave came across the concept of the Pre-Mortem and the guys go all-in today to see how it works.

“A pre-mortem — also known as a premortem — is a managerial strategy in which a manager imagines that a project or organization has failed, and then works backward to determine what potentially could lead to the failure of the project or organization.”

Can you see why this kind of freaks us out? Your Purveyor’s of Positivity, your Champions of the Charmed Life don’t like to let the concept of failure get in the way of their ideas. This has worked for both Dave and Shannon for decades, launching new businesses and letting new ideas develop before they get squashed by negativity. But, we think this Pre-Mortem idea has some real value and on this episode of the Small Business Show, we turn the tables and tear into our own show using the pre-mortem technique.

So, how did we do? Listen in to find out and then jump over to our Support Group to share your thoughts on using a pre-mortem on your own business.

Podcast Chapters & Timestamps

  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #105 February 8, 2017
  • 00:03:40 A pre-mortem
  • 00:05:14 Is it a good idea?
  • 00:06:18 Balancing optimism and pessimism
  • 00:07:26 Pre-mortem of the Small Business Show
  • 00:09:35 Danger: no financial gain
    • Grow listeners to grow sponsors
  • 00:12:27 Direct vs. Indirect revenue
  • 00:15:17 1,000 True Fans
  • 00:18:25 Danger: Not seeing the numbers
  • 00:22:52 Voicing doubts without being a naysayer
  • 00:28:07 Outtro

Articles mentioned:
Harvard Business Review: Performing a Project Premortem

Riskology: The Pre-Mortem: A Simple Technique to Save Any Project From Failure

1000 True Fans

Small Business Interview with David Oliva of RD Appliance Service – Small Business Show 104

rd appliance interview with David OliviaIf you had the choice, would you continue the traditions of a multi-generational business that provided decades of support for those that came before you? Or would you turn things upside down and commit to growing the business and challenging yourself (and your company) to embrace new technology, new customers and a new workforce?

If you are a Small Business Show listener, we think we know what your answer is.

Join us today as we spend some time with David Oliva of RD Appliance Service as he describes the journey from a self-employed entity founded over 50 years ago to a fast growing company that embraces change and challenges traditional methods to become the very best they can be.

During our interview, we covered a ton of great Small Business topics such as working with your spouse, expansion with new employees, raising your prices and finding a new high-end service niche and much more.

Listen in to episode 104 of the Small Business Show, then jump over to the SBS Support Group on Facebook to share your comments!


  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #104 February 1, 2017
  • 00:01:28 Interview: David Oliva from RD Appliance Service
  • 00:02:47 The multi-generational transition
  • 00:03:42 Changing the vision
  • 00:04:38 Working with your spouse
  • 00:05:54 Expansion via hiring and partnerships
  • 00:07:08 The challenge of employees – keeping your “edge” and challenging yourself
  • 00:09:24 It’s time to raise prices … a lot!
    • Being a great Tech does not make you a great business owner.
  • 00:11:58 Making changes with your parent as a partner
  • 00:13:22 Going upscale! Finding your niche –
  • 00:21:02 Best mistake: Worker’s Comp is a variable cost!
  • 00:23:14 Stock parts: arrive prepared for each client
  • 00:24:08 Service providers: watch out for aftermarket warranties
  • 00:25:51 Scheduling time to work on your business
  • 00:26:35 Being the best is the best success
  • 00:28:04 Learn from other Small Business Owners
  • 00:28:31 Don’t underestimate the value of your skills

Small Business Interview with Jay Gentile of BoosterBots – Small Business Show Episode 103

booster bots automation softwareJay Gentile has a passion for saving time, his clients as well as his own! What began as a mobile product repair business, led to SEO and web design and finally into application development and the BoosterBots family of marketing apps.

Join us today on the Small Business Show and learn how Jay made the transition from his first two businesses to ultimately creating a company that gives him the reward of helping people succeed along with the freedom and flexibility to lead his own Charmed Life. During the interview, we discussed leaving the corporate world to begin a new business, learning about SEO and PPC advertising to help clients and then using it to grow his own company and why following his interests has been so important.

We then jump into discussing the importance of telling your personal story when marketing your company, how to offer long term support on products sold with a one-time fee and sticking to niche markets where you can have a big impact.

Listen in to learn about BoosterBots success and more on this episode of the Small Business Show, then come over to the SBS Support Group to continue the discussion!


  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #103 January 25, 2017
  • 00:01:18 Interview: Jay Gentile from BoosterBots 
  • 00:02:11 Another story of an HP employee branching off
  • 00:05:04 The “problem” was, I didn’t own my own business
  • 00:05:42 Led to SEO, PPC, Affiliate and online marketing
  • 00:06:49 Transition from one business to another
  • 00:08:39 Following your interests
  • 00:10:23 Making your small business about you -telling your story
  • 00:11:47 Supporting a one-time-fee product
  • 00:15:13 Identifying and using your talent stack
  • 00:16:24 Always be marketing!
  • 00:17:25 Intentional marketing with private software
  • 00:19:00 Niche specific software markets
  • 00:20:36 Success is doing the things you want to do when you want to do them!
  • 00:23:02 Best mistake: not delegating quickly enough
  • 00:24:12 Stressed-out people do bad customer service
  • 00:26:34 Don’t fear change! Evolving your business requires it.
  • 00:28:10 Split test your ass off!
  • 00:29:39 SBS 103 Outtro

Small Business Interview with Tyler Merritt from Field Harmony – Small Business Show Episode 102

tyler merritt interview field harmonyWhen Tyler Merritt noticed that his good friend was running a growing appliance repair business with no software to track accounting, schedules or workers, he did what good friends do: he offered to help build a customized application for the business.

The guys spent about a year putting together the app and since they figured that most small service businesses had the same problems, they decided to launch Field Harmony to help service companies manage all aspects of their operations.  The goal was to help their own business, contribute to the success of others and then use the revenue from Field Harmony to “purchase our time back from the world”.

On this episode of the Small Business Show, Dave and Shannon spend time learning about Tyler’s journey and what it took to get Field Harmony from an idea to an actual product that could be sold. We discuss partnerships, marketing, trusting your employees, the importance of asking potential customers if they would actually use your solution and much more.

Listen in and then share your thoughts on our Small Business Facebook group!


  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #102 January 18, 2017
  • 00:01:11 Interview: Tyler Merritt from Field Harmony
  • 00:01:25 smallbusiness Subreddit
  • 00:02:00 Solving a problem – managing service people in the field
  • 00:05:20 Taking your internal solution and selling it to others
  • 00:07:23 The perfect partnership: one has the industry connections, other with technology
  • 00:08:38 Separating yourself from the solution
  • 00:12:30 “We want to purchase our time back from the world” – with the business revenue
  • 00:13:48 Making the leap: when can we quit our day jobs and focus 100% on this business.
  • 00:15:29 Marketing focus – pay per click, word of mouth, email marketing
  • 00:16:43 Running your business on a spiral notebook
  • 00:18:40 Trust people to do what you hired them to do… and only that!
  • 00:19:37 Ask potential customers “Does anybody want this?”  
  • 00:21:25 “Your time is the only thing you can’t print more of!”
  • 00:23:32 Best mistake: forgetting that other people – even your business partners – are not you, don’t think like you and don’t know what you’re thinking.
  • 00:26:38 Measuring success: Positive feedback from our customers & contributing to the success of others.
  • 00:28:59 Let the good stuff in … and out!
  • 00:31:54 Field Harmony
  • 00:32:54 SBS Outtro


Managing and Stewarding a 4th Generation Small Business – Rick Stuart from Listo Corp – Small Business Show 101

managing a family businesssWhat’s more difficult? Starting up a new company or taking over and changing the culture of a 4th generation small business? Join us today on the Small Business Show with our guest Rick Stuart from Listo, a company founded in 1921!

How would you handle taking over and managing employees that have known you since you were a kid? What about “updating” the culture of a company almost a century old? Would you rush in and be in a hurry to make changes to take advantage of current market opportunities, or would you take your time before you started making changes? Dave and Shannon explore these questions and more on today’s show.

During the conversation with Rick, we learn about the importance of pivoting into new markets (sound familiar?), going “low-tech” and getting smaller to grow. Listen in to learn about how Rick adapted himself and his small business to keep it moving beyond the first 100 years.

Chapters/Timestamps/Stuff Mentioned

  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #101 January 11, 2017
  • 00:01:18 Interview: Rick Stuart from Listo Pencil Company <http://www.listo.com/pencil.htm>
  • 00:02:01 Multigenerational (4x!) business
  • 00:04:22 Low-tech is a quandary… or is it? <http://www.listo.com/pencil.htm>
  • 00:06:21 Pivot, pivot, pivot!
    • It’s (still) all about customer service
  • 00:07:46 Started with… and returned to the family business
  • 00:09:56 Running a company – and people – older than you are!
  • 00:11:23 Changing (updating?) the company culture
  • 00:15:07 “Go have fun with it, kiddo!”
  • 00:16:33 Real estate as a hedge
  • 00:17:56 Estate planning as part of a business plan
  • 00:19:54 Looking at things from a different perspective – split out manufacturing
  • 00:22:35 Shrinking to grow
  • 00:25:33 Evolve: don’t hang on too long!
  • 00:28:17 Let the brand live its own life
    • “Be a steward of the brand”
    • It’s OK to let a small business be small
  • 00:31:09 Take time to Earn (trust) and Learn (the business)

Small Business Show Advice and How-to Year in Review – Small Business Show 100

Top advice and how-to episodes of the Small Business ShowWelcome to the 100th episode of the Small Business Show! As they begin 2017, Dave and Shannon take a look back at some of the highlights from last year in the advice and how-to categories. Your hosts revisit tips and tricks from 8 of their favorite episodes and wrap up the show with a reminder about finding ways for your business to enrich your personal life.

Join us today and then share your story on the Small Business Support Group!


The Best Small Business Owner Interviews of 2016 –  Small Business Show 99

2016 Best Small Business Owner InterviewsAs we wrap up 2016 with our last Small Business Show episode of the year, Dave and Shannon take a look back at some of the highlights of their favorite interviews from the past 12-months. Join us today we we revisit some of these moments that stuck with us!


Politics and Your Small Business – Should you mix them? – Small Business Show episode 98

can you successfully mix politics and small business?What would happen if a favorite business that you visit often suddenly began introducing political comments in the mix of their marketing or posting political signs in their store. Would you respect their right to do so, even if you disagreed with their politics? Join Dave and Shannon on episode 98 of the Small Business Show as they discuss the pros and cons of mixing politics with your Small Business.

The discussion begins with Shannon discussing one of his favorite, daily news sites that has recently begun introducing political links and commentary into their daily content. Can you successfully mix your political beliefs and your business? Maybe that attracts customers to you or maybe it’s a disaster? Your hosts try to look at all angles of this topic as well as throwing in a few tips about creating your Charmed Life along with your Small Business.

Listen in and then share your thoughts on our Facebook Small Business Support page!


  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #98 December 21, 2016
  • 00:01:05 Should politics be mixed with your business?
  • 00:03:37 Daring Fireball … adds politics?
  • 00:05:30 Curating your business’s audience
  • 00:10:22 Politically agnostic or simply politically quiet
  • 00:13:01 Contract of Respect
  • 00:14:15 Priorities and Respect
  • 00:18:43 Don’t be distracted from creating your OWN reality – your Charmed Life
  • 00:21:05 When lodging a complaint, know your audience
  • 00:24:12 What’s your business do with politics? Is it part of your niche?