When starting our business I had a good idea of how we wanted to operate it. Many of our choices came from who we are as people and our natural responses to a situation.

But that doesn’t always work – running a business involves a lot of decisions and I didn’t have answers to all of them. I looked at other companies that I treat like role models that may have faced a similar situation from which we can draw guidance.

Breaking these companies of the categories, I have two types: aspirational and similar. Aspirational companies are bigger and have proven success, like Apple. Their lead on environmental and diversity issues strongly shapes my decision-making process.

Obviously as a tiny two-person shop we are not Apple. Which brings me to the similar companies I look up to. Generally these are husband-and-wife or boyfriend-and-girlfriend small businesses, just like us, but they’ve been around a little longer. Simply seeing others doing what we are doing helps me keep going, but in addition to that we can see the things they’ve struggled with and overcome already and figure out if their solution would work for us.

So what companies are your role models?