We just finished with National Small Business Week, and now we turn around and talk about Independents Week. What’s the difference, and why does it matter?
Small business is a designation of size. So anything under 500 employees, according to Small Business Administration definition. I don’t know about your small town, but in mine, 500 employees is extraordinarily large. And small businesses are unquestionably the heart and soul of small town business.
Independent is a reflection of ownership. Independent businesses could be any size, but they are owned by local people. Control remains local. Decisions about what to carry, what business to pursue, what donations to make are all made locally. More profits remain local. More business is given to other local businesses.
Of course, there is a lot of overlap: many businesses in small towns are both small and independent. These business people are the ones who invest themselves in the future of your community.
According to the Spring 2013 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, nearly all small businesses (96%) find some way to contribute to their local communities (including donating to local causes, participating in community projects and sponsoring local athletic teams) and 83 percent shop at independently-owned businesses in their neighborhoods.
According to the Independent We Stand Community Support Index, small businesses contributed 16 percent more resources to charities this year compared to last year. The survey indicates that the number one reason small businesses support local charities is to invest in their own community.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.