According to the SBA, there are over 28 million small businesses in America, and those businesses make up 54% of all sales in the U.S. What does this mean? It means that in order to have a healthy economy, we need to shop small.
Each year thousands of individuals start their own businesses. However, only a handful are able to make it past the first few years. While there are many reasons for this, one significant factor is the inability to compete with big companies who can offer steep discounts often by buying in bulk and paying low wages and no benefits to fellow citizens in your community. This type of competition has led many family businesses that had been around for generations to go out of business. For others, it has resulted in compromising quality and values by using cheaper materials and shipping jobs overseas in order to lower their prices. In retail particularly, this trend has continued since the dawn of the big box super markets and department stores.
Despite the seemingly increasing power and influence of these larger companies, small businesses continue to be the backbone of America’s economic strength and social vitality. They are important to our local and national well-being in multiple ways such as:
- Generating valuable income to cities and states through taxes, sales and overall increased interest in the area.
- Driving innovation with small businesses registering 16 times more patents per employee than larger companies.
- Providing better opportunities for our workforce including creating 8 million new jobs in the last 27 years.
As technology changes and businesses are forced to adapt, it will become increasingly more important to focus on supporting small businesses. Within the next two decades nearly half of all jobs are projected to be replaced by automation and other applications of technology. Jobs that remain are considered “robot-proof,” which include skills that require creative ingenuity and interpersonal exchanges such as designers, counselors, and human resource employees. While new jobs will likely be created as a result of the application of technology, the best opportunity for many robot-replaced workers is to create their own jobs through self-employment and small business development. This direction will lead to creating new jobs for other workers, as well.
Further good news is that many of these new ventures have access to products and services that support working smarter and more cost-effectively. These include apps for bookkeeping, CRM, payroll, marketing, and much more. The benefits are numerous including streamlining and integrating business processes that used to take hours, and allowing the business owner to focus more on what they do well instead of tedious administrative routines. There are also plug-and-play website development platforms, social media channels, and online market distribution channels that make it easier to reach a much broader audience and create a presence in our highly digital world. All of these innovations together make the possibility of succeeding in business much more attainable.
As our workforce mix continues to change, American’s pioneering spirit continues to change with it offering more success for smaller businesses and creating our own jobs as self-employed contractors. As consumers, we also want to do our part by supporting those businesses and continuing to shop small and shop local.