In the past 32 years, the number of U.S. small businesses has exploded – increasing by nearly 50%. Today, there are almost 28 million small businesses and 22 million self-employed sole proprietors/freelancers nationwide. If these numbers say anything, it is this: these businesses may be small, but they’re making a big impact on the U.S. economy.
Small Business Owner Growth
Between 1985 and 2010, the number of small businesses in the United States increased dramatically. Employers (businesses that hired employees) grew from about five million to approximately 5.5 million. The number of non-employers skyrocketed, increasing from about 14 million to just under 23 million. Today, small businesses account for more than half of U.S. sales.
Small business owners also provide 55% of the country’s jobs. While large corporations and government agencies were busy eliminating jobs – cutting four million positions within the last twenty-four years – small businesses were busy adding them – to the tune of eight million new jobs since 1990.
Reasons for Small Business Growth
Growing an idea into a successful small business is the American Dream, but these statistics tell us that more people are dreaming that specific dream today than ever before! While there are many motivations for starting a small business, affordability and accessibility of technology and the desire for stability are two major factors.
Ease of Acquiring Technology
In the past, starting a business required more overhead because technology was expensive. Today, it’s easy and relatively affordable to acquire the best technology. For less than $100, you can have a lightning fast Internet connection. If you want to accept credit cards, just download an app on your smartphone or tablet. Need to make conference or long-distance calls? Buy the MagicJackGO VoIP system for under $50. With such flexible technology available at incredibly low prices, it’s no wonder that, in 2010, half of small business owners ran their businesses from their homes.
Desire for Job Stability
Job security feels like a thing of the past. Every day, it seems like a new headline touts job loss. This year, Microsoft plans to cut 18,000 jobs, and the government intends to lay off around 90,000 soldiers. Although becoming a small business owner doesn’t mean you’ll achieve immediate success, it does mean that you have control. You won’t walk into work one day to suddenly find that you no longer have a job. Instead, you’ll have the opportunity to build a stable business that can help you attain financial security and peace of mind.
Benefits of Owning a Small Business
Building a business from scratch is exhilarating, challenging, and risky, but there are several perks of being the boss. You’ve always wanted to work in a friendly and energetic environment. As a business owner, you have the chance to create that environment. You can design policies based on your own values instead of fighting against corporate procedures that you don’t think meet the needs of the everyday employee.
Another big perk of owning a business is flexibility, both in terms of your business’s mission and your schedule. Have you always dreamed of investing in real estate? Add it to your business plan. Do you hate developing marketing plans? Outsource that component of your business. Need to take your kids to the doctor at two or prefer to work midnights? As your own boss, most of your schedule is up to you.
Tips for Success
If you’re sold on starting your own business – there’s no time like the present. Your business will thrive as long as you stay motivated, so start doing your research while you’re excited. However, it’s important to remember many small businesses still fail. If you want your business to make it past the five-year mark, remember that being your own boss doesn’t mean being on your own. From writing your business plan to creating your website to determining your product assortment, there are consultants waiting to help you – so take advantage of these resources!
All statistics courtesy of the Small Business Association & Business Insider