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Small Business Saturday highlights survival, growth of entrepreneurs

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Terri Dee

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(Indiana News Service) Today is Small Business Saturday, an opportunity for small businesses to market their products and services out of the shadows of "big-box" stores and franchises.

The most recent figures from 2021 show Indiana is home to almost 530,000 small businesses statewide; companies with fewer than 20 workers. Small Business Saturday prompts shoppers to support these businesses as they continue to recover from the pandemic.

One Indiana business owner turned her burnout as a mental health caseworker into a career as a licensed massage and skin therapist.

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Lanetia Woolridge, owner of Lanetia's Day Spa, said the business reflects her personality.

"When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to go back to school for, massage therapy just came up," Woolridge recounted. "I could promote wellness and just make people feel good. And by becoming a massage therapist, I'm still helping people, but in a different capacity."

Woolridge decided in 2021 it was time to become an entrepreneur, despite the pandemic. She admitted it was difficult to build a clientele, but marketed her business for pain management as well as relaxation. In Indiana, women own more than 42 percent of businesses, veterans own just over 7 percent, and Hispanics own almost 4 percent, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

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Business News Daily lists some of the biggest challenges for small businesses as disorganization, undervaluing what your business does, not having a business plan and being afraid to fail. Woolridge offered her advice:

"Don't listen to the naysayers," Woolridge outlined. "Hang around positive people, like-minded as yourself. It's going to take a lot of hard work. There's going to be busy days, slow days, but just continue to work on it and eventually, your business will be successful. So, I would say, go for it."

Forbes magazine underscored another challenge. It said between February and April 2020, nationally, 41 percent of Black-owned businesses closed, along with 36 percent of Hispanic-owned businesses and 25 percent of women-owned businesses, due to a lack of access to capital.