Paul Wesslund

The Book

Small Business Big Heart

So often business books tell us about how to earn more, how to make our businesses more profitable, how to become more influential. Seldom do they address the small business and its impact on the life of its owners and those they employ.

There are almost 30 million small businesses in the United States, employing over 56 million people, or 57 percent of people who work in the private sector. For the small business owner – for any business owner – life balance can be elusive. Too often family and relationships suffer as we pursue a career, letting workplace demands take precedence over all else.

What happens when you consciously chart a course for your life, a course guided by your ethics and values?

What happens when you truly recognize and embrace community?

Small Business, Big Heart is about a couple who, like many of us, lost their balance. But it is what they did next that makes their story inspiring.

In their twenties Sal and Cindy Rubino dreamed of running a little café. Cindy had the chef’s palate, Sal the marketing instincts. But things didn’t go as planned. Returning to Cindy’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, with their culinary school diplomas from Florida, Sal waited tables and Cindy found herself in a basement butchering chickens. Their first try at entrepreneurship—a pair of seafood restaurants—collapsed, driving them near bankruptcy and threatening to tear their family apart amid long workdays, restaurant party culture, and soul-crushing business competition.

Reassessing their values and making family a priority over wealth, Sal and Cindy reinvented themselves. As they struggled to start a more modest restaurant, their new church family filled their tables with customers. Hiring refugees and people in addiction treatment provided long-term and loyal staff. And success followed.

For anyone seeking to create a better-balanced life while building their business, the lessons learned from Sal and Cindy – perseverance, compassion, high standards, and living the same ethics in church, at home, and at work – could well be the secret of success.

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