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Thriving as a Small Business: Series Intro

by Katie Rucker on November 19, 2021 Comments Off on Thriving as a Small Business: Series Intro

Currently, I’m a second-generation small family business owner. Whenever I meet someone new and share this information, I can see their minds piecing together an image of what it looks like. Unless they are involved with a family or small business themselves, what they envision is usually inaccurate. This is neither a bad thing nor a fault, it just simply is.

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of people and had a lot of conversations about what it’s like to operate a family-owned small business. I absolutely love sharing my story because I’m proud of it, so I don’t mind the fact that much of sometimes our initial discussion involves me correcting misperceptions and laughing off the stereotypes.

Yes, we employ immediate and extended family members, but no we are not a “Mom & Pop Shop.”

Yes, our staff and resources are lean, but no we’re not suffering because of it.

Yes, it’s great to be a business owner, but no it’s not a life of shot-calling and extended vacations.

Many of my fellow small business owners are likely nodding their head reading this because we’re a unique breed that are often misunderstood, but with that comes a sense of collective success. When one family business shifts the narrative or breaks a stigma, the entire network benefits. While we may fit into different categories, exist in different industries, or operate under different circumstances, we share a special connection that is equal parts humbling, inspiring, and energizing.

As we inch closer to 2022, I’ve been reflecting on my experiences as a small family business owner. There have been a lot of lessons learned, especially over the past few years, and leveraging that wisdom is a big part of our company’s futures planning process. While organizing my thoughts and ideas, I was brought back to the community mindset wondering how many of you experienced similar challenges and successes. With that, I became motivated to share a few key points from my strategic planning outline with hopes of benefiting others, even if nothing more than sparking internal dialogue.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing a blog series focused on approaches for key decision making and sustainable growth – with an emphasis on leveraging customer insight as not only a starting point, but a foundational lens throughout the process. By combining my personal and professional experiences, my goal is to address real-world business challenges from a small business owner point of view and offer real-world business solutions.

Stay tuned for more, and don’t be shy… I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and experiences along the way!


A people-first, purpose-driven business leader and operational expert with a passion and proven aptitude for unlocking potential. Katie brings a unique blend of strategic business acumen, analytical skills, and business development know-how to her role as Chief Operations & People Officer at MacKenzie Corp., a second-generation family business that provides consumer insights and data solutions for clients across a variety of industries. Having joined the family business in 2008 and transitioned to co-owner in 2012, Katie's focus as a leader has been to mirror MacKenzie's outward mission internally by strengthening internal processes, evolving company culture, and promoting employee engagement.

Katie RuckerThriving as a Small Business: Series Intro