Small businesses are the backbone of the US economy and need to thrive through careful management
In the land of opportunity, every generation dreams the American dream. And always, the icing on the cake is success. As the Governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, said, “Success is the American dream.”
Success may conjure up ambitious dreams, but as entrepreneur Bill Rancic, said, “The American Dream is still alive out there, and hard work will get you there. You don’t necessarily need to have an Ivy League education or to have millions of dollars startup money. It can be done with an idea, hard work and determination.”
Despite all the technology and online instant shopping, regular Americans are still loyal to the brick and mortar small businesses that flourish across the nation. A recent Gallup poll shows that 70% of Americans rely on small businesses for their needs while 21% of Americans seek out large companies. And this is happening in an era where US companies are propelled into mergers, consolidation and acquisitions for survival and growth. Considered in perspective, it is an ironical situation, as the majority of Americans have never favored big business and have always been on the side of small businesses.
The reason lies in the fact that for most people, small businesses symbolize the American dream. And Americans are fascinated by stories of hard work and determination and cherish small businesses that were built on the dreams of individuals, and carried on by families and generations. The numbers bear witness to this fact, as reflected in the 2015 Economic Report of the National Association of Small Business. It shows that 51% of small business owners are between 50 and 88 years old, while 33% of small business owners are between 35 and 49 years old, and only 16% are 35 years or younger.
Furthermore, the initial investment for most of these small startups, that is, for 82% of them, are not borrowed from banks, but come from the entrepreneurs themselves, or from their families and friends. Venture capital funding is scarce and limited to around 1000 or so companies. Many small businesses start in a very basic manner, many of them from the entrepreneur’s home or garage. On the other hand, in a tech world, it is easy for many small businesses to fit into a “virtual” set up. In many instances, technology, meaning the employees’ computers, Internet connections and other mobile devices, count for greater progress of the business, than the actual physical presence of employees in an office.
According to a recent report by Economic Consulting Services LLC of Washington DC, “Small businesses continue to be incubators for innovation and employment growth” during times of economic recovery. Added to this, according to the Office of Advocacy of the Small Businesses Association, 61.8% of net new jobs are created by small businesses. It is, therefore, an unassailable fact that small businesses comprise the backbone of the US economy.
In this situation, it is imperative for small businesses to ensure that every cent is well-spent, and that costs are controlled and waste is at a minimum. Even as benefits companies give employees comprise a significant slice of their expenses, one of the hardest costs to keep strictly controlled is travel costs. And so, mileage reimbursement for companies is seen as a great way to keep wastage at bay.
Just as the American Dream remains unfazed, business analysts see small businesses in a growth spiral into the future.
(Acting) Deputy Associate Administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration, Terry Sutherland observed optimism among small business owners not seen in decades. Football veteran Fran Tarkenton, who has his own consulting and educational startups, said, “Small business owners are by nature optimistic. … A lot of the things we try don’t work—but some of them do. And we keep trying because you never know when the next thing just might be the one that makes it. So, we’re a naturally optimistic bunch, and things continue to get better.”
So, even as big businesses tower over them, small businesses, with a “never say die” attitude and loyal patrons who refuse to forsake the underdog, will continue to keep the American Dream alive. As Walt Disney said, “All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”