This past week I had the good fortune to have my friend Jim Blasingame stop by the office for a visit and tour of ISI etc. Jim and I have been business associates/friends since 2007 when I first got the opportunity to be a guest on his award winning Small Business Advocate Radio Show promoting my book "Keep Swinging."
Through the years I've been honored to be a part of Jim's "brain trust" and been invited back as a guest on his show over a dozen times. And I must say, I've enjoyed each and every interview, even the VERY EARLY ones that started at 6am. I've told Jim many times that there are very few people I'll get up that early for but he's one of them!
After giving him a tour of the facilities and showing him all the cool technology equipment we have around ISI (telemedicine carts, ISI net remote access equipment, etc) we got a chance to have a conversation about the current state of small business, future challenges, etc. It was a priceless opportunity to talk to someone who truly understands and appreciates "my world" and the ongoing challenges we all face in the continuing difficult economy.
Jim and I both agreed that most small business owners are still very cautious about hiring and implementing a growth strategy in today's economy. Why? It is Jim's belief that there is a lack of trust in the overall economy lingering since 2008 when the market took a major dive and turned everything upside down.
As for the future, Jim and I both think it's going to be survival of the fittest in the coming years. There doesn't seem to be any "easy street" for any of us to look forward to any time soon. Not exactly the "rosy" picture I was hoping he'd paint for me and ISI but I did feel it was truthful. As we concluded our visit, I must say a feeling came over me that seems to happen each and every time I've had the opportunity to speak to Jim Blasingame. That is, that even with all the challenges, problems and uncertainty, he always leaves me feeling "PROUD TO BE A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER"