When you think of something that is “small yet powerful,” a few things might come to mind: A computer chip, an engine, medicine, a diamond, a bullet, etc. For me, I also think about small business—the 28.8 million small businesses in the United States today to be exact, which according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, account for 99.7 percent of all businesses in the U.S. and provide jobs for 56.8 million employees.
Here are some other interesting statistics about small businesses today:
- Small business was key for the nation’s recovery from the recession. Between the middle of 2009 and the middle of 2013, 60 percent of the jobs created were from small businesses.
- The top three challenges of running a small business, according to the businesses surveyed by the National Association of Small Businesses (NASB) for their 2015 report are: economic uncertainty, the cost of health insurance benefits and a decline in customer spending, with regulatory burdens almost tying for that third place spot.
- Obtaining enough financing is a problem for some: 27 percent of small businesses surveyed by the NASB claimed that they weren’t able to receive the funding they needed. For those one-in-four businesses, the most frequent primary impact that a lack of funding had was preventing them from growing their business (especially for women-owned and minority-owned businesses).
- Women are steadily increasing their presence in the world of small-business ownership, according to the Institute of Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). About 29 percent of America’s small business owners are now women—that’s up from 26 percent in 1997. The number of women-owned firms has grown by 68 percent since 2007, compared to 47 percent for all businesses.
- Progress for minority women has been particularly swift, with small business ownership skyrocketing by 265 percent since 1997, says IWPR. And minorities now make up one in three female-owned small businesses, up from only one in six less than two decades ago.
The growing prevalence of women small business owners didn’t happen overnight—or by accident. It may be the result of legislation targeted at women and minority small-business owners like the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and the Women’s Equity in Contracting Act, both of which seek to help businesses headed by women win more government contracts by putting women-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses at a competitive advantage.
It may also be the result of organizations like NAWBO that support women as they start and grow their businesses. As a small business owner as well as this year’s NAWBO National Board Chair, I am thrilled to see that small business continues to be such a critical component of the NAWBO mission. Our organization was founded by women business owners who came together so that they could have strength in numbers as they worked to address and improve issues they were facing.
More than 40 years later, some of the actions we are now taking include the roll out of our Congressional Endorsement Program that endorses men and women, Democrats and Republicans, challengers and incumbents. NAWBO National screens candidates for endorsement solely on their history of business ownership or their voting record demonstrating their consistent support of business owners. Click here to see who has been endorsed so far. Additionally, we introduced the Circle program through the NAWBO Institute to specifically support women small business owners who have reached the $1 million revenue mark and now want to grow beyond. And, like in year’s past, we are a proud supporter of Small Business Saturday and the Shop Small movement in November, so be sure to watch for ways to get involved and lend your support, too!
The theme of this issue of NAWBO ONE is small business. Still, no matter the size of your organization, I know you’ll find a few small “pearls” that will have a powerful effect on your life and your business.