Exploring how locally owned, independent small businesses benefit the U.S. economy.

A small business can be defined as a number of things. The U.S. Small Business Association defines a small business in different classes depending on the type of industry it is involved in. Basically, the business size boils down to, "the largest a business can get (both in terms of employees hired and overall turnover) while still being considered a small business concern." While confusing in and of itself, we know that small businesses make up the backbone of America's economy and have done so from the earliest days of American economic freedom. Today, the cafes, barber shops, beauty salons, restaurants, automotive shops, grocers, florists and all other types of retail businesses make up some of the most respected businesses in any urban or suburban settlement area.

The Impact of Small Businesses on the American Economy

In 1995, it was estimated that small businesses generated as much as 64% of new jobs and paid out a grand total of 45% of the total private payroll to employees for that year. As a contributor to overall economic growth, it was seen that in 2008 small businesses contributed as much as 46% of the overall non-farm GDP to the American economy. Considering this from a national perspective, it is in the best interests of the United States Government to see growth happen in the private sector because it's good for the economy. These statistics prove that small business owners are well worth the investment. Local business owners help to stimulate the growth and development of the national economy by providing much-needed jobs. In a time where finding employment is ridiculously hard, small businesses act as a counterbalance to the massive layoffs of private firms and multinationals. Small businesses are well suited for weathering such adverse economic conditions as we are currently going through.

How Small Businesses Cope With the Challenging Economy

It's true that in this time of economic downturn, there is a marked decrease in the amount of investors interested in putting money into small businesses. Small business owners around the country have found a number of ways to get past this issue, but by far the thing that puts small businesses above other large companies and corporations is their ability to be flexible. Due to the fact that there is no solidly defined chain of command, a flexible business tends to be much easier to manage as employees move up through the ranks and take initiative as the need arises. The small size of the business also removes the layers of red tape between the ground staff and the owner, basically casting him or her in the role of a leader as opposed to a taskmaster. It is by virtue of the humanity of small business owners that they are able to withstand the financial hardship that has hit so many larger companies. Small business management creates an aura of sustainability while at the same time gives employees responsibility and the opportunity to learn critical management skills.

Small Businesses and Real America

Small businesses hearken back to a time when the American Dream was alive and well, fueled not by plastic products from China, but by honest, dedicated work. There are still people that conform to these ideals and these people make up the basis of America's small businesses. Innovative ideas from a number of different catchment areas means that you can open up a business dealing with almost any type of good or service. Throughout America are new manufacturers, coffee houses, bike shops, boutiques, bars, entertainment centers...the list is endless. These businesses are what fuel America's growth and help it to withstand times of economic uncertainty. By keeping true to the values that business owners before them have espoused, these local business owners serve as the platform that supports the American economy.

By: Charles Barr
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