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Sunday, Apr 21, 2024

OPINION: America’s Love Affair With Small Business Grows

America’s Love Affair With Small Business Grows

Opinion by Jack Faris

America has a love affair with small business.

Large corporations spend millions of dollars on television advertisements featuring individual small-business owners, praising their dedication, hard work and, yes, looking for their business.

Politicians champion small business in stump speeches. Some are staunch supporters and others claim to be at election time.

For 39 years, the president of the United States has proclaimed a week each spring to be National Small Business Week.

There is good reason to appreciate these small-business owners. The economic powerhouse we call small business is, in fact, the third-largest economy in the world, behind the United States and Japan.

Small business is truly the engine that drives this nation, producing 75 percent of net new jobs, accounting for almost 98 percent of all employers and 53 percent of the private work force. For about two-thirds of us, our first job was in a small business.

The Real Creators

When we think of cars or high-tech equipment, chances are we think of big business. But it is small-business innovation that gives us many of the technological changes that increase productivity and fuel economic growth and prosperity. Bold entrepreneurs brought us the automobile production line, fast-food franchising and overnight mail delivery.

Innovators, working alone or in small firms, created the personal computer, pacemaker and photocopier. They were instrumental in the commercial development of the Internet.

Look around your city or town and you will see small-business owners providing community and neighborhood leadership. They advertise in the high school yearbook, sponsor the Little League teams and volunteer to lead charity drives.

Research has shown that small businesses make significant financial and non-tangible contributions to communities. Small businesses donate as much or more per employee to local charities than big companies. Because most small-business owners live in the communities where they do business, they have a vested interest in helping solve problems and offering their leadership skills to achieve civic goals.

Seeking Freedom

Men and women start their own businesses for a variety of reasons. Certainly financial reward is one. However, it is clear that many of those who start a business do it for the freedom ,the independence , that they think they will find by working for themselves.

Unfortunately, most learn that although they are running the business, they have unsolicited partners: local, state and federal government. From the moment they fill out the forms to establish the business, they will be faced with a steady stream of paperwork.

And then, there are the regulations: environmental, safety, zoning, human resources and tax codes, to mention a few. It’s a wonder more fledgling business owners do not get so discouraged that they abandon their dreams and their newfound “freedom.”

This year the celebration of National Small Business Week should include a commitment by the politicians on the stump to consider how the laws they pass , sometimes with the best of intentions , have unintended consequences for small firms. And Americans must show their support for a political climate that insures the vitality of small business.

Faris is president of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.


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