Even larger companies, like Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. in Fairfield, which helps thousands of small businesses across the country, started years ago with two employees. Maintaining an atmosphere supportive of an entrepreneur’s mindset for all employees was one of the reasons judges gave for naming it the Vision Awards “Business of the Year.”
The pattern displayed by all the entrepreneurial winners actually seemed nicely summarized in the motto of one of them: “We make it happen.”
That’s the slogan Musco Lighting has used for years, and it was part of the attitude that earned a Lifetime Achievement Vision Award for owner Joe Crookham of Mahaska County. But there was another common thread, both in the descriptions of the Vision Award winners and in the author’s speech.
The discussions seemed to center not on what they did in the past or even what they’re doing now, but on what comes next.
The owner of The Little Bake Shop, Melissa Little, won New Business of the Year. She started the business in her kitchen and wondered whether she could create a viable business. With the support of a core group of employees, she did. The new shop already had to move to larger quarters in downtown Ottumwa. Even when it comes to the city, she’s thinking of the future.
“People look at downtown and remember how things used to be,” Little said. “I look and see what it could be.”