This is Small Business Week, the annual week-long event led by the Small Business Administration (SBA) that celebrates the backbone of the U.S. economy. In fact, now is as good a time as any to note that almost half of working Americans own, or work for, small businesses.
As Business reports, the number of small businesses in the United States has continued to rise since 1963, the year that the SBA began Small Business Week. What’s more, fewer small businesses are failing.
Just How Important Is Small Business To The Economy?
As The Arizona Republic reports, small business produce 50 percent of the U.S.’s non-farm gross domestic product. What’s more, 99.7 percent of the employers in the U.S. are considered small businesses (that is, with fewer than 500 employees). That equates to 57 percent of the private sector employees in the country, or about 56 million Americans.
Which Small-Business Industries Employ The Most Americans?
According to a 2015 Forbes report, trucking is where it’s at. In fact, so big was trucking at the time that the freight industry was growing at twice the rate of other small businesses.
In fact, it’s in the specialized freight industry – like hauling tankers or refrigerated goods – where small businesses employ the most Americans.
After trucking, construction dominates the top-ten list of fastest-growing industries in small business. In fact, at the time of the Forbes report, so dominant was the construction industry that in some communities, employers were facing wage pressure (that is, being forced to pay higher-than-normal wages due to supply and demand) and even labor shortages.
Why You Should Support Small Businesses
Back in 2015, Entrepreneur laid out a list of reasons why you should support small businesses, with benefits ranging from intangible rewards to your community, to an improved experience as a customer, and everything in between.
Small Businesses Can Provide Better Customer Service: Perhaps not surprisingly, if your favorite restaurant, florist, or retail shop is owned locally, chances are the owners – and employees – will know you better.
“A local gardening shop owner may learn about a new product on the market that can help you with a pest control problem you mentioned on one of your visits, for instance, and can order that product as part of his selections.”
Supporting Small Businesses Keeps Your Money Local: When you shop at a chain retailer or service provider, such as a “big box” store, the money you spend goes to a headquarters hundreds of miles away, to be divvied up among shareholders. When you spend money locally, the small business owners that you support have money to reinvest in your own community.
Local Flavor: Last but not least, small businesses keep your community unique. In a day and age where there’s a Starbucks on every corner, and where you can eat the same steak at every Applebee’s in Tuscaloosa, Tempe, and Tucumcari, supporting small business gives you an opportunity to take in your own community’s vibe.
“The combined presence of your town’s many local businesses makes it different from every other city in the world. By supporting those businesses instead of chains, you ensure that uniqueness is preserved as a part of your community.”