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Last Update: Saturday September 18, 2021

Key Idea: Be Generous

Small business owners are among the most generous people on earth.  Every year Paul Reed Smith, founder of PRS Guitars, gives away hundreds of instruments to high school students. More...

Key Question:


Be generous and you'll be a normal small business owner.  National Federation of Independent Business research tells us that Small business owners are among the most generous people on earth. It also shows that  we are the most religious and the wealthiest segment of our population.

Q: How can we make money if we give everything away for free?

Good question! There are hundreds of churches and other non-profit organizations that raise money or collect goods and then give them to people in need.

Marc Katz, owner of Katz Deli in Austin, Texas told us he has learned in life that when he gives, it comes back to him. The people or the charity he gives to end up circling back to do business with him. Sometimes, someone connected to someone Marc donated to comes to him to do business.

Marc also said he is a big plagiarizer. This means he steals ideas and he doesn't steal ideas from small business, he steals them from big business. His lifetime guarantee idea came from the idea of the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval." His strong commitment to charities comes from studying big foundations.

He reminds us that people who run big businesses are, "not stupid." Big businesses establish foundations and other programs to assist those in need because it always pays to be nice. Other business owners we know who subscribe to this strategy talk about it as the way they launched themselves in business.

  Why is volunteering to work with a non-profit organization good for the soul and also such a good marketing technique?

  Albert Black is founder of On Target Supplies and Logistics. His passion is community service and by accident he found this to be his best marketing strategy. Albert gives of himself because he loves people and love life. Yet, when you want to sell something, it is difficult to know who actually has the checkbook! When you work on a good cause, you will meet people who will often tell you who they know and who might possibly be your next customers.

Albert worked with the Chamber of Commerce and when he received an award for service, John Castle was present at the event. Today, John Castle is on Albert's board. John also leads EDS, one of the country's largest companies, and as you might guess, EDS is now one of Albert's customers, too.

Think about it

What have you given in the past? What can you give? What should you give?

Clip from: The Winners - SBA Awards

Every State & Territory of the USA: Each year the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes one owner from each state and each territory for their creativity and tenacity and for creating jobs. The SBA is the only agency in the federal government chartered to help turn dreams into realities. And it could be argued, this agency is closest to the intent and the results of the American revolution, that is, to make it possible for businesses to grow.

Since 1963 the President of the United States has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of Small Business Week.

In this episode of the show you meet the Small Business Person of the Year from Hawaii, California, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. You'll also hear from winners from Maryland and Montana. You'll also see  winners from Delaware, Guam, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Montana, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Go to all the key ideas and video of this episode...
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Paul Smith Guitars

Paul Smith, Founder, Chairman, CEO

380 Log Canoe Circle
Stevensville, MD 21666

Visit our web site:

Office: 410-643-9980

Business Classification:
arts, entertainment, manufacturing

Year Founded:

Be Generous

HATTIE: (Voiceover) The goal of Small Business Week is to recognize the contributions business owners make to this country, and there are a swirl of events hosted by agencies and decision-makers.

The winners enjoy the opportunity to get to know each other. The State Department was the location of this reception where deputy administrator of the SBA, Melanie Sabelhaus, speaks with Paul Smith, owner of Paul Reed Smith Guitars, and winner from the state of Maryland.

PAUL SMITH (Paul Reed Smith Guitars): We're going to give 208 guitars away to every high school in Maryland. And we're going to surprise the whole SBA crew on Friday at the Maryland SBA awards and let everybody--let the superintendent of schools know that she can give an electric guitar to every high school in the state.

MELANIE SABELHAUS (Deputy Administration, SBA): Do you know how sensational that is? For Baltimore, for all these young people that admire you, it's going to be sensational.

PAUL: It should be fun. Should be good.

MELANIE: Thank you for giving back!

HATTIE: (Voiceover) We asked Paul why he thought he won the award.

PAUL: I was very surprised by it, but when I looked at the criteria of how much we grew and the kind of impact we've had on the market and charities, like with Johns Hopkins, that we do, it made sense. But ahead of time, I didn't have any expectation at all. I was very surprised.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) One of the great benefits of attending this event is participants are toured through so many important Washington, DC, places. This congressional luncheon was held in the Dirkson Senate Office Building. The winners dined with their own elected officials. Unidentified Man #2: ... sincerely congratulate you...

HATTIE: (Voiceover) And some addressed the group. Here's Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts; Representative Don Manzullo of Illinois, chair of the House Committee on Small Business; Senator Kitt Bond of Missouri, former chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business; and Representative Nydia Velazquez from New York.

NYDIA VELAZQUEZ (State Representative, NY): Small businesses--and I keep saying this time and time and time and over and over and over again--and I want for everyone in the Capitol, for all of my colleagues, to listen to me well when we speak about small business; "Small business is big business in America."

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Representative Velazquez serves on the House Small Business Committee. She and her colleagues listened intently to many of the winners talk about their personal struggles with starting and growing a business, and their particular concern with the government's policies which can be both a blessing and a burden.

BELINDA: As a small business, GC Micro faced a number of challenges that are common to most small businesses. The lack of capital was a serious problem until I was able to obtain an SBA-guaranteed loan. As a woman and a minority, it has been difficult breaking into the established network, however, the federal contracting goals that have been established for small businesses have provided numerous opportunities for us. Unfortunately, there's also no strong mechanism to enforce small business goals. Federal law requires any contractor failing to make a good faith effort to achieve their small business goals to pay liquidated damages back to the government. However, no contractor has ever been penalized for liquidated damages for failing to reach these easily achievable small business goals.

Brenda Burkhartsmeier (Montana Small Business Person of the Year): Like many small business owners, we had a vision back in 1994, my sister-in-law and I, of starting a little coffee company. We've sold our coffee kiosks to 150 other individual people just like myself and my husband. And we impact over 400 hard-working individuals.

The ideas, though, come with rules and regulations and you touched on that in your speech, though not only federal government red tape and rules and regulations can hinder small business.

I could go on and on and on. So I would urge you to definitely look into the red tape in small business because a small business can grow from a really small little dream into a big company, and thank you.

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