Small businesses provide opportunities for entrepreneurs, jobs for neighbors and gathering places for communities. They’re rooted in the landscape where they grow, and they give back vitality and sustenance. Although running a small business involves taking greater risks than working for a large, established company, the rewards are both quantitative and qualitative, including broad-based prosperity and a web of symbiotic relationships.
Small businesses are important because they provide opportunities for entrepreneurs and create meaningful jobs with greater job satisfaction than positions with larger, traditional companies. They foster local economies, keeping money close to home and supporting neighborhoods and communities.
Independence and Autonomy
Although small-business ownership is a longstanding and traditional way of earning a living, it bucks an ongoing trend of large companies consolidating, building economies of scale and spreading homogeneity. A chain restaurant in the Midwest will be virtually the same as a version of the same restaurant on the East or West coast, and a pharmacy with locations across the country will reflect the same values, wherever it is located, whether it focuses on convenient delivery of pharmaceuticals or processed convenience foods. In contrast, independently owned restaurants and pharmacies reflect the culture and needs of their neighborhoods. Local restaurants feature regional specialties, and local pharmacies may supplement their stock of pharmaceuticals with anything from jigsaw puzzles to t-shirts from area Little League teams.
Creating Meaningful Jobs
Two out of three new net private sector jobs are created by small businesses. That figure refers to the number of new jobs created after subtracting the number of jobs that have been eliminated. This trend has been reasonably consistent for 25 years, and has continued since the end of the Great Recession. Not only do small businesses create a significant percentage of new jobs, but the jobs they create provide high levels of job satisfaction. It’s easier to take pride in your work and to feel as if your contributions make a real difference when you have a direct relationship with your boss, than when your company is owned by millions of shareholders, who live all over the world and the business is run by executives in a distant city.
Integral Parts of Local Economies
Small businesses are integral parts of local economies, helping to create webs of financial interdependence that foster broad-based prosperity. When you spend money at a privately owned local store, that money goes to pay a worker in your neighborhood, who, in turn, is likely to spend money at another neighborhood business. The more that small businesses leverage their potential to support each other, the greater their capacity to create a thriving local business community. This mutual support is also useful during hard times. If a local business is struggling, community members can bond together to help the struggling business get back on its feet through crowd-funding campaigns or old-fashioned word of mouth pleas. It is difficult to imagine a large corporation generating this type of energy and support.