As Small Business Saturday approaches, consider the impact

April Salsbury

Small businesses might be small in terms of organizational structure, but what the collective statistics suggest bear no semblance to anything small. According to Forbes, there are more than 28 million small businesses functioning in the U.S. alone, which have employed around half of America’s working population. Non-employer small businesses constitute a massive 75 percent of all the businesses operating in the U.S. now. Furthermore, according to Small Business Administration, the total number of small businesses account for about 54 percent of all the sales made.

When you look into the industry of small businesses collectively, you get an idea of how enormously they affect, positively so, the economy of the country. So while the stats may have convinced you of the physical enormity of the small business industry, there are few more reasons why small businesses are quite a big thing.

They are in closer contact with the masses

Small businesses represent the essence of a place since they are being run by members of the community who don’t have larger than life investments at their disposal. When big businesses target niches and try to build exclusivity around them, thereby separating from the masses, it is the small businesses which center their services on the core population of a community. Since they know what unique needs and gaps exist in their specific limited markets, they can connect better. What you don’t find at a luxury department store, you might get your hands on at your neighborhood store being run by an old couple living nearby, aware of the spirit of the neighborhood.

They generate more employment

There is a huge chunk of high school graduates in the U.S. who don’t make it to college because of a number of reasons, mainly financial. One reason why they find a good job is because of the small businesses and the massive employment opportunities they come up with. Bigger corporations often settle for no less than a bachelor’s degree when considering candidates for employment. If it was not for small businesses, a large population would be left unemployed. Getting yourself proficient in a certain skill and the willingness to work is all you need to get yourself relevant employment with a small business.

They adapt and respond better

Since small businesses do not have huge and complicated organizational structures to maintain and staff to handle, it’s easier for them to adapt to local changes and needs better. Also, small businesses tend to notice and respond to changes in local trends (like the demand for certain goods and services) before corporations do. This ability to adapt and respond better gives small businesses an edge over their larger counterparts. Also, this makes them automatically more enabled to personalize and customize their services because they know what it is that people instantly connect with. The absence of multiple levels of authority puts them in an open and more flexible position to cater to their markets in a better way.

April Salsbury is the owner and CEO of Salsbury & Co., a local consultancy firm. She can be reached at