Photo courtesy of City of St. Charles, IL via Flickr
Despite the intimidating shadow of today’s mega-corporations, we still hear often how important small businesses are to the health of our economy, and rightfully so.
Why do I think everyone should care about small business? Here are my reasons:
Happy workers - Small business owners tend to be happier with their work situation than people who are not self-employed. Happy business owners tend to make happy work environments, which make employees happier, and happiness is always a bonus for society. This optimistic feeling has a lot to do with the control entrepreneurs have over their venture, but maybe they also realize how much they’re helping the economy.
Big wages - Businesses with less than 20 people on staff employ more than 330,000 people in Arizona alone for a combined payroll of more than $12 billion. When businesses with less than 100 employees are accounted for, the figure doubles. In the entire United States, small businesses pay combined wages of $1.5 trillion, more than eight percent of the economy by GDP. To put that in perspective, the brutal economic recession in 2008 and 2009 led to a drop in GDP of less than 3 and a half percent.
Variety and specialty - Small businesses offer a lot of the products and services that create variety and specialty in our communities. No national food chain can ever perfect thousands of recipes, but thousands of Mom-and-Pop restaurants can each perfect a few. Likewise, small businesses can do a much better job focusing on individual endeavors. A small construction company can commit its full resources to a project in a way that no massive organization can. There is an inherent value for business owners and consumers alike brought about by companies that are small.
Innovation - People tend to forget that every business starts small. Apple computers were first imagined in Steve Jobs’s garage. Facebook was born on Mark Zuckerberg’s laptop. Every great business idea started as just an idea and had to grow into success.
Arizona Microcredit Initiative exists to make sure no entrepreneur is left behind when they are ready to launch a great new idea. Our loan program provides entrepreneurs with up to $5,000 to start or grow businesses that benefit local communities and promote financial independence. We also offer free consulting for startups or existing small businesses to help pinpoint business problems and develop tailored solutions.
When small businesses aren’t supported, employment, growth, production, diversity, entrepreneurial spirit, and innovation all take a hit. We all have a lot to gain when small business owners thrive.