We have been celebrating Small Business Week in the U.S this week. It is a time to recognize what small businesses mean for us and for our communities. In small towns, they form the mainstay of where we shop and eat. Our everyday lives depend on them.
Yet, we often don’t think of what these businesses mean in overall economic terms.
Did you know that small businesses:
• Represent more than 98 percent of all business firms
• Employee about 50 percent of all U.S. workers
• Generate more than $12 trillion in receipts each year
These are powerful numbers that do not even take into account the technology they have created, along with new jobs and growth opportunities, and their status as an economic driver for a community.
Small-business owners not only provide dollars and jobs but often can be found supporting local improvement efforts, taking on a leadership role in civic and public organizations, and being available when a call for assistance comes in.
Besides being important to the larger economy, small businesses are a prime entity that supports the owner’s family and the families of his or her employees.
Finally, the small business represents an individual’s dream. Owning a business can mean using certain skills and abilities, the ability to generate income or the opportunity to take a good idea to market.
Given the importance of the small business, growing and maintaining its strength is a high priority. This means working to ensure a stream of new businesses constantly is entering the marketplace. New businesses mean more individuals are trying something they have wanted to do. It also means local revenue and more jobs.
So during Small Business Week, do two things: First, reflect on how the small business is supporting the local, state, national and international economies. Second, stop by and tell local small-business owners how much you appreciate what they are doing.
Glenn Muske is the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality. Follow Glenn on Twitter: @gmuske
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