small business matters series

Small Business Matters: A Series

The numbers are overwhelming. Small business make up the majority of revenues generated in the US. Statistics show this particular area continues to grow with each year. This series will explore a number of topics which matter to a small business. Because small business matters.

I realize there’s a million articles and resources available for small businesses. In fact, in the United States there is an entire government agency created simply to assist and help these small businesses. I would like, however, to focus on specific topics with more practical application. Some of these will be related to situations where I have learned the hard way through firsthand experience and others I have learned from the wisdom and advice of others.

Application

I also realize not everything I share will be applicable to a global audience and I apologize in advance for any information which may feel to American focused. I will do my best to share information from my experiences and connections from a worldwide perspective however occasionally may share information most relevant to those businesses based in the United States.

So without further delay let’s jump right in. We should begin a series with a proper definition of terms involved and layout some groundwork for what we want to cover throughout the series. Obviously the most important term is, small business. What is a small business and how do we categorize them?

Small Business Definition

A small business can be defined in a number of ways and depending on the setting may have different interpretations. You may see a small business defined to be any business under a certain number of employees or where the gross profits are under a certain monetary total (e.g. under 500 employees or under $5 million dollars in annual gross revenue). This is a difficult line to draw. I’ve seen businesses with 5 employees generating well over 10 million in revenue, does this mean they are still a small business? I’m not certain. For the purpose of this series I will define a small business as the following:

Any business where decisions are made by a select few individuals and these individuals spend an inordinate amount of their time outside of a typical workday focused on generating revenue for their business to become or stay profitable.

In other words, a small business is a business fighting to be profitable and the weight of the responsibility falls firmly on the shoulders of a few select individuals. I’m writing for those people. I’m writing for the little guy, the underdog, the ones struggling to make it and the ones barely hanging on. Sure, others may profit and you may find value in the information shared within this series. I truly hope you do.

You will notice I don’t refer to a specific revenue amount or a specific number of employees. I don’t believe these two factors adequately define what comprises a small business. Small business is more than a number, small business is a mindset, it’s a state of being, a lifestyle. Sometimes this is a great lifestyle and sometimes its a bit more “tedious” (for lack of a better word).

A Frame of Mind

A small business frame of mind has some particular features which I think can be identified. I’ve attempted to include a few in my definition above. First, a small business typically has only a handful of decision makers, many times only a single one. The more decision makes involved usually means a disbursement of both power and stress. The greater this disbursement the less the feeling of personal liability. Second, a small business usually means those same decision makers are working excessively (and I don’t mean 50 hours). And even when they are not working – eating, sleeping (or not sleeping) they are still focused on the success of their business. This constant feeling of fighting to “stay afloat” is pervasive with small businesses.

This Series Goal

Small business is special. It takes a special type of person to start with nothing and attempt to build a business. Every big business, every medium business began as a small business. But there’s something else. Every small business is a small business. That sounds stupid but I say it to make a point. Some small businesses don’t want to be big business. Sometimes being a small business is the goal. There is nothing wrong with this goal. It’s important to keep in mind that size is not everything. Whether seeking to grow or simply seeking to stay successful my opening statement holds true.
Small Business Matters.