National Small Business Week – Focus on Micro Businesses

National Small Business Week seems a good time to look at a growing shift in the American economy. According to some trend watchers, “Micro Business” in the United States is edging out “Small Business” in the race for percentage of overall business types and economic impact.

A Micro Business is best described as having only one owner and a total of up to five employees, including the owner, whereas a Small Business is independently owned and operated with typically more than five employees, and by generally accepted definition, can have as many as 500 employees.
small business week 1More and more people of every age, particularly women and minorities, are starting their own Micro Business because of the upward mobility and flexibility that they can provide. Who doesn’t want to work in an environment of comfort and trust, perhaps with family members or close friends, while directly reaping the financial benefits of the sweat of their own brows?

Additionally, Micro Business owners can do things on their terms, apply their specific skills or follow their personal passions. And, because personal interest and passion are often involved in the creation of a Micro Business, those individuals involved often see their business as making a difference. Whatever their product or service, these entrepreneurs desire their innovations to contribute to society in some way.

Today, Micro Businesses are becoming too important to ignore as economic contributors, also. Believe it or not, Micro Businesses may now represent a staggering 90% of all U.S. businesses, and are changing the dynamics of income, wealth creation and wealth sharing, and quality of life in America like no other business factor. (Source: Small Business Authority)

They’ve had a profound impact on American job growth, contributing to the creation of over 26 million jobs, the most of any industry. As a result, they’ve also contributed to the creation of 1.9 million indirect jobs and 13.4 million induced jobs. In fact, if each Micro Business owner in America hired just one person, the U.S. would reach full employment. (Source: Small Business Authority)
small business week 3Sedona is already a town of Micro Businesses, but treated seriously, they may be the future of economic diversity for us, too. However, as any business owner will tell you, starting your own business is not for the faint of heart.

Micro Businesses face major challenges in order to flourish and survive. Assisting small businesses is part of the Chamber’s mission, which is why we maintain relationships with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and SCORE (Senior Crop of Retired Executives).

The first hurdle for start-ups is financial capital. The crack down on home loans and lines of credit have reduced the amount of available dollars to start-up owners who might otherwise initially fund their business from their personal assets. The Chamber’s partner, the SBA, offers loans and counseling.

The Internet has been the world’s great equalizer for business, but that is just one facet of the technology equation. Many individuals still lack a deep enough understanding of technology to make appropriate and cost-effective decisions. Products such as cloud computing can turn a struggling Micro Business into a profitable one, but the learning curve is steep and time-consuming. Again, the SBA and SCORE bring training and advice to owners.
small business week 2Micro Businesses are, by definition, too small to be able to have in-house I.T., payroll or HR Staff. Outsourcing these vital services and needs are important to lower business risks and have the potential to incent yet other Micro Businesses. The Chamber’s networking know-how can assist making the critical connections between synergistic businesses.

Perhaps the ultimate challenge to Micro Business, and Small Business too, will be what happens to healthcare.

Both Small Business and now Micro Business are being recognized as major contributors to job growth, forming a huge portion of our total business community and tax base. Together, they employ more than half of Americans, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. And both, but Micro Businesses in particular, is now redefining the American workforce and the economy.

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–Teri Ruiz, Director of Partner Services