The Secrets of Running a Leading Local Business

by Gretchen Harding on October 19, 2010

Originally Posted Oct. 11, 2010

The new Intuit Small Business Blog is about you — the small business owner — and the things that matter to you.   One core theme we’ve decided to focus on, along with money, employees, customers and trends, is the idea of community and localization. We just call it “local.”

We know local is a hot topic because we’ve seen the power of local communities in action: Over 100,000 fans have voted to support and reward their favorite local businesses through Intuit’s Love A Local Business grant competition, which has awarded over $375,000 to local businesses to date.

Because local is so important, we’re leading the re-launch of the blog with an in-depth local story: a tour of small businesses in and around Half Moon Bay, California. Unlike the city’s neighbors of San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the local economy of Half Moon Bay is far more reliant on agriculture and tourism than those that surround it.  While Half Moon Bay is local for us, its isolated location and economic differences made us want to shine a spotlight on the community and its entrepreneurs.

To get our story about Half Moon Bay businesses, we used a technique we call “Follow Me Home,” which is exactly what it sounds like.  “Follow Me Homes” have been core to our business ever since Intuit’s founder, Scott Cook, was the one going to customer’s homes to observe them using Quicken so he could get ideas for product improvements.  But for our “Follow Me Homes” in Half Moon Bay, we didn’t watch our customers use our products.  Instead, we sent 10 employees from different areas of Intuit — product managers, engineers, marketers, customer support — to meet with entrepreneurs from different industries — tourism, agriculture, recreation, construction – and gather their stories.

We went to their places of business, which ranged from living rooms and warehouses to restaurants and retail storefronts, to learn how they strive for and achieve success, to find out through their own words and actions what success really means.  What has experience taught them about managing money, employees, and customers?  How do they navigate trends, and how do they contribute to the local economy and community?

We learned an immense amount from their stories and are certain you will, too. Watch for these stories here at the Intuit Small Business Blog every day over the next couple of weeks.

Read on for more stories from our business visits in Half Moon Bay.