The Brushstrokes of Business

Local Businesses Create Masterpieces Every Day.

Along the streets of every city and town lies an unassuming gallery, where each day local business owners craft their art from a blank canvas, much like the Old Master painters of the past. When considered in this light, there is much a local entrepreneur can learn from iconic figures like Leonardo da Vinci, Johannes Vermeer, and Vincent van Gogh. It highlights the symphony of struggles, the dance of determination, and the silent battle with the inner critic that both artists and entrepreneurs endure in their quest for their masterpiece.

The Brushstrokes of Business: Vision, Persistence, and Self-Critique

There is a new Renaissance happening today and business owners caught right in the middle of it. The desire for the new and different, affordable but purposeful has never been in higher demand. Today’s owners must be technicians, managers, and strategists of their own vision. They blend the elements of commerce– brand, operations, and service – to create an experience that is not just functional but also artistically fulfilling for their patrons. Every transaction is a testament to their dedication, every satisfied customer a nod to the owner’s dream.

Every transaction is a testament to dedication, every satisfied customer a nod to the owner’s dream.

As much as has been revolutionized in the last 50 (or even 20) years, we would do well to remember that we aren’t the first to face a vastly changing world. Between the 14th and 17th centuries there was a cultural rebirth in art, science, technology, politics and more. This too was a throwback to an earlier time, the ancient Greco-Roman culture. More remembered for its monuments than recorded history, the Greek and Roman ruins found new admirers coming out from under the direction of a church that believed the only thoughts worth thinking were about salvation. Interestingly, even with the invention of the Gutenberg press, much of what we know of the Renaissance can only be inferred from their masterpieces rather than accounts of the lives of the people who made them.

It should be natural to think that we are judged by our actions and, in the case of local businesses, our storefronts. The genius of Leonardo da Vinci is evident from his Mona Lisa, but we know little about the man who painted it. His life is mostly explored through what he created. An intensely private person, we don’t know about his attitudes or feelings. 

However, we do know some of the struggles he faced. One of his most persistent challenges was ADHD along with dyslexia and problems getting regular sleep. The great thing about Da Vinci is that he isn’t recognized for overcoming or ignoring any mental illnesses he had; he’s recognized for being brilliant through them.

The Daily Exhibition: A Stage of Constant Scrutiny

Unlike artists, whose works are periodically displayed in galleries, local business owners have an exhibition every day. Their art is not hung on walls but displayed in the quality of their products and services, the satisfaction of their clients, and the health of their businesses. They face their critics daily – the market, the customers, and, most importantly, themselves. The comparison between Johannes Vermeer and local business owners is both profound and inspiring. Vermeer had an exceptional ability to capture light and shadow, created paintings that were more than just visual experiences; they were emotional journeys.
Unlike artists, whose works are periodically displayed in galleries, local business owners have an exhibition every day.

His works, often steeped in tranquility and contemplation, invite viewers to look deeper, beyond the surface. Successful businesses instill a sense of reliability, trust, and comfort that once was never described, but is now frequently lambasted on social media. Those positive reviews (and the negative ones as well) don’t show the inner workings and habits of the providers of the experience. Instead, they, like the critics of what are considered masterpieces now, only reflect their contemplation.

In the real estate market, much like in Vermeer’s art, the play of light and shadow can be seen as the balance between market trends and individual client needs. A Realtor must navigate these with a keen sense of awareness and intuition, much like how Vermeer would balance light and shade to bring his paintings to life. Similarly, a restaurateur operates in a realm where every ingredient, every recipe, and every dish served is a testament to their ability to harmonize various elements. Just as Vermeer captured moments of everyday life with a sense of serenity and profoundness, restaurateurs create dining experiences that go beyond mere sustenance. They create atmospheres where every meal is an opportunity for reflection, enjoyment, and satisfaction.

The Final Stroke: Conquering the Inner Critic

With the rapid pace of change today, many entrepreneurs visualize not only the opportunities, but they see everything that could go wrong as well. Vision is a double-edged sword when it comes to evaluating your prospects, but that is the price for aspiration. The shape and size of a business owner’s objectives differ, but the passion to accomplish them is what drives us, no matter if it is serving the ultimate burger or being the top Realtor in a community. So we must accept that our ability to dream brings the potential for disillusionment too.

Overcoming the inner critic was, perhaps, the very essence of Vincent van Gogh, whose tumultuous life story is a vivid reminder of the inner turmoil faced by many creators. His bold use of color and emotive style speaks to the heart of a small business owner. The daily struggle against doubt and the relentless push towards a unique vision are akin to van Gogh’s battle with his personal demons. Each day, these entrepreneurs, like van Gogh, paint their canvases with the hope of recognition and understanding.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
— Oscar Wilde
Both business owner and artist battle the relentless inner critic, strive for perfection, and seek to leave a lasting impact. The artist may create a masterpiece that transcends time, but the entrepreneur crafts an experience that touches lives daily. The artistry of entrepreneurship is a testament to the human spirit’s resilience and creativity. A local business owner’s daily exhibition may not hang in galleries, but they are no less significant in the tapestry of human experience. They remind us that art is not confined to canvas and marble – it thrives in the bustling streets, in the warm smiles of satisfied customers, and in the heart of every visionary entrepreneur.

Cover image:

Hand with Reflecting Sphere
MC Escher


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