Sometimes you have a first conversation with someone and you find yourself saying, Damn, this guy would be a great person to interview. Or maybe that’s just me. But the first conversation I had with Jaime Izurieta of Storefront Mastery blew my mind with the creative, engaging and just fun system he had developed for addressing the crucial issue of helping local independent businesses figure out how to transition in a fast-changing economy. And he was fun to talk to. Trifecta in my book.
You can watch our conversation above, or listen to it on Soundcloud here. You can also pick up this and other AccelerateUs interviews on Stitcher or Spotify as part of the Building a Wise Local Economy podcast. This interview does make use of screen sharing, so the video might make it a little easier to follow along
Jaime learned first-hand about pivoting and diversifying a business to deal with a crisis through his family’s bookstore in Quito, Ecuador. When your national economy completely collapses and wipes out everyone’s life savings, you have no choice but to get creative. In reflecting on that experience after moving to the United States and observing how successful businesses relate to their customers, Jaime designed the Hopscotch system as a way to help business owners rediscover the aspects of the business that made them want to do it — the things that make them want to keep doing it when financial management and employee issues and everything else don’t get in their way. The system then helps them think through new ways to build their Tribe (one of my favorite new economy concepts, and one I learned from Christina Aldan), diversify their business and capitalize on new technologies to support the aspects of the work that they love.
Jaime’s approach, to be blunt, blew my mind. I have spent decades working with systems for helping small businesses do better at the stuff that doesn’t feed their passion – the regulations, the training, the financial management, blah blah blah. All necessary, all important. None helping you when you feel burned out and hopeless and against a brick wall. Hopscotch’s revelation, and its revolution, is to start with the passion, start with the reason why the owner wanted to do that in the first place, and figure out how to rework, reposition, rebuild that passion, so that the finances and the training and the regulatory compliance and the like take their rightful place as necessary support systems, not the business’s raison d’etre. Engaging with why you want to do it as a way to make your business successful – and not draining your life. D’oh!
You can learn more about Storefront Mastery and Hopscotch here, and you can pick up the publication and other services here. And if you read Spanish well, or you can live with Google Translate weirdness, you can catch up with the original Hopscotch, the bookstore turned writing emporium Rayuela, right here.