This week, Americans will be observing National Small Business Week, which prompted us to investigate the idea of “small businesses” and find out exactly how “big” is “small” in our country. The facts may surprise you!
In a study conducted by the Small Business Administration (SBA) from 1998-2004, despite ups and downs in the economy, enterprises classified as “small businesses” accounted for a steady 50% of all Gross Domestic Product economically in our country! Even today, that number remains about the same…so look out BIG Business, we’re apparently here to stay.
And, when I say “we” I can speak from day-to-day experience — The Smile Center is a locally-owned and operated small business in San Antonio, so we can speak first-hand to life in the world of small businesses. We’re not alone…small businesses in the United States:
- Represent 99.7% of all employer firms
- Employ half of all private-sector employees
- Pay 44% of total U.S. private payroll
- Generated 65% of the 15 MILLION net new jobs over the past 17 years
- Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms
- As of 2009, account for 27.5 MILLION businesses in America
- Of new small businesses, 34% survive 10 years or more and 26% last 15-plus years!
The Smile Center is in good company, as we are about to embark on our 14th year in business, since our inception in 1999. While, we’re definitely moving into the elite class, we’re just teenagers compared to the National Small Business Week observance which began in 1963!
But, this represents just a blip on the business history timeline:
- Assyrian merchants were plying their trade as far back as the 19th Century B.C.
- The first true multi-national enterprise can be traced back to the Dutch East India Company founded in 1602 A.D.
- The Industrial Revolution that began in Europe in 1700 and moved to the New World in the 1800s before reaching its peak in 1850 — which we all studied ad infinitum in school — also opened up a whole new business world that we still benefit from today.
- Wall Street, the site this week of all the Facebook IPO buzz, got its start in the Colonies in 1792, when 24 merchants and brokers formed an agreement that began with the trading of securities: two bank stocks and three government bonds. Insurance securities entered the mix during the War of 1812.
Who would have imagined in those pre-Colonial days the impact that one person with a dream could have on the modern business landscape? So, we continue to celebrate the American Dream that can be found on Main Streets across our country in small businesses everywhere!