This Valentine’s Day, I sent a big box of chocolates to small business owners everywhere. And I’m not alone. According to a 2012 Public Affairs Pulse Survey, 88% of adults interviewed have a favorable view of small businesses. Only 16% said the same about major corporations.
Here are six reasons why I love small businesses and will continue to support small business owners in every way possible:
1. Small business owners work tirelessly
Entrepreneurs and small business owners are used to working long hours. The latest SMB Wellness Index from Manta found that small business owners are working longer hours than they have in the past. Nearly half (49%) said they worked more than 50 hours/week in 2012, compared to 40% in 2011. 26% worked up to 60 hours a week in 2012, 14% worked up to 70 hours, and 9% admitted to working more than 70 hours a week.
2. Small businesses are the heart of the American economy
If you had any doubts about the importance of small businesses to our economy, take a look at the following statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Small firms:
- Make up more than 99.7% of all employers
- Create more than 50% of the nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP)
- Make up 97% of exporters and produce 29 percent of all export value
3. Small businesses spur job growth
It’s the small business engine that’s turning our economy around and putting our country back to work. The latest figures from the SBA show that small businesses create 75% of the net new jobs in our economy, creating more than 15 million net new jobs between 1993 and 2009. Small businesses employ half of all private sector employees and hire 43% of high tech workers (scientists, engineers, computer programmers, and others).
4. Small business owners are gutsy
The bulk of small businesses are self-financed, with owners digging into their savings, home equity, stocks, 401k/retirement accounts, and credit cards to fund their business. The large number of bootstrapping startups is in part due to a tighter lending market; most small business owners find they need to sign a personal guarantee in order to get a loan. This kind of bootstrapping makes a small business self-reliant, but it’s also risky as owners may stand to lose their entire wealth in case this business fails. Yet despite this fact, small business owners are ready to take the plunge because they believe in their vision and want to do whatever they can to make it happen.
5. Small businesses build relationships
As the founder of a small business, I enjoy doing as much business as I can with fellow small companies. Small businesses often share a uniquely genuine culture – after all, small business owners typically have a closer connection to their customers and marketplace. There are fewer bureaucratic layers and armies of consultants standing between the owner and customer. Smaller organizations take a vested interest in the needs of their customers, and build strong relationships with their customers and community.
6. Small business owners are optimistic
2013 brought a flurry of small business surveys all pointing to increased optimism for the coming year. The SMB Wellness Index from Manta found that more than 75% of the small business owners polled are confident about their company’s growth prospects in 2013. A Dell Think Tank poll showed that business owners in their six markets expect their finances and sales to improve this year. And the American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor found that 77% of small businesses polled are optimistic about their business prospects.
While these findings are certainly indicative of positive trends in our economy, I think that by nature, small business owners are an optimistic group. It’s an unfailing belief in themselves and a hope for the future that gives entrepreneurs the strength to take risks. And I hope more courageous and creative individuals join the ranks of small business owners in years to come.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally written by Nellie Akalp on Small Business Trends.