Where You Can Sound Off

In our newest feature, SmallBiz Mailbag, you'll find a sampling of thought-provoking readers' letters about entrepreneurship

What do the owners of a small cookie company, an independent payroll service, and a software startup have in common? As it turns out, a lot more than you'd think.

In my time covering entrepreneurs, I've seen how incredibly diverse the world of small business can be. The reason most people start their own company is their desire to be unique, to put a different spin on the way something is being done. It's what makes my job interesting.

But at the same time, small businesses have an important commonality that I believe can't be found anywhere else in commerce. Entrepreneurs share a sense of camaraderie, a common experience, a been-there-done-that feeling of community that allows them to relate to one another, even though they hail from very different industries and backgrounds.


  The aspiring cookie magnate may not know how the payroll pioneer's system works, and neither one might have any idea how the would-be Bill Gates writes software code. But chances are, they've all had to raise capital, decide if and when to hire their first employees, and personally deal with an irate customer or two along the way.

I believe any effective small-business publication, including this one, must do what it can to foster this sense of community, with stories that convey practical lessons, columnists who speak from experience, and resources that aid your operations. Much like a newspaper, the people we write about are also the people we're writing for.

That's the thinking behind SmallBiz Mailbag, a new feature that some of you have noticed in recent days. In the two months since launching our redesigned SmallBiz channel, we've received an increasing flow of e-mail in our Feedback section -- some sounding off about individual stories and columns, others highlighting issues relating to entrepreneurship at large. To help further the dialogue, we'll regularly share a sampling of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking letters.

So I invite you to take a look at what your fellow readers are saying, and drop us a line whenever you want to be heard. I look forward to continuing the conversation.

Rod Kurtz

SmallBiz Editor

BusinessWeek Online

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