One of the hurdles small businesses face is the potential loss of a sale if they don't have the infrastructure in place to accept credit card and debit card payments.
St. Louis native Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square Inc., a mobile payments device company, makes that hurdle easier to jump but he says the company has more to offer than concrete tools of the trade.
"We believe fundamentally that we are building tools to encourage local businesses to thrive and to grow, and to make it easier for them to get into commerce...but some of those tools are not just software tools, and they're not just hardware tools, but they're best practices," said Dorsey, who is also the creator of Twitter.
To share those best practices and facilitate conversation between small businesses, Square Inc. is holding a series of events called "Let's Talk" in several cities across the country. The first event is in St. Louis tonight at the Casa Loma Ballroom. The event is free, but no more tickets are available.
For local business owners Katie Miller and Scott Carey, the event is an opportunity to be inspired, informed and better connected with the community.
"Hearing everybody's stories is really inspirational," said Miller. She is the co-owner of jewelry store Scarlett Garnet on Chestnut Street.
"We are building South City, basically to create regionalism. To create a reason to want to live in St. Louis," said Carey. He is the owner of Sump Coffee on Jefferson. "The reason why people attach to a city or a location is the regionalism. It's the neighborhood."
And a big part of what makes a neighborhood unique are the local businesses.
And that, said Dorsey, is what these "Lets Talk" events are all about.
"I do believe fundamentally that if we build strong networks in the neighborhood, we will build a strong nation," said Dorsey. "So if you focus on the small economy you can actually have a dramatic effect on the national economy and potentially the global economy as well."
So what does it take to make it as a small business owner in St. Louis?
According to Dennis Melton, it takes capitol, business skills and passion. He is the director of the Eastern District of the Small Business Administration (SBA), a government agency with a mission to help local businesses get started and grow.
The SBA can help with getting capitol and learning how commerce works, but the passion is up to the business owner.
Update: Square has posted the full video of the Let's Talk event: