National Small Business Week, created to highlight the economic importance of small businesses, starts today in the United States. According to the Small Business Association, small business created more than 60% of all new jobs in the US in 2014. Small businesses also employ about half the work force in the US. In Canada, small business add about 30% to the GDP and account for nearly half the jobs in the private sector. Considered the backbone of the economy, small businesses are known to boost economic growth and are a big key to job creation.
At some point in our lives, most of us will think about starting our own businesses, which come with their own unique set of challenges. From the sheer cost of starting up to monthly storefront or office rentals and competition from large online retailers, it’s hard to get a new business off the ground. In fact, nearly 50% of all small businesses fail within 5 years. But that doesn’t seem to dampen our enthusiasm; the idea of striking out on our own, being our own bosses and following our dreams still appeal.
To celebrate the special place small businesses hold in their neighborhoods and the challenges they face, American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010. Held each year on the Saturday after American Thanksgiving, its message to consumers is simple: vote with your wallets. Research shows that for every $1.00 spent in a neighborhood economy, more than 50% stays there. Thus consumers have a powerful way to transform the areas where they live and work. Small Business Saturday was so successful in the US, it was adopted in UK in 2013, where, according to a survey by Groupon, over 71% of consumers want to see more independent businesses on their “high streets”.
From coffee shop to bookstore, dry cleaner to florist and butcher to bakery, small businesses are often as creative and unique as their owners and add variety, charm and local flavor to the neighborhoods where they set up shop.