Small Biz: Not Small at 32.5 Million Strong


National Small Business Week is celebrated annually. In 2022, it’s scheduled for May 1-7 and carries the theme, Building a Better America Through Entrepreneurship. Small businesses have faced the brink of late. Think: offshore production, then onshore, workforce shortages, aging demographics, COVID, PPP (Paycheck Protection Program), the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), rising costs, and supply chain woes.

One thing is certain. U.S. small businesses possess several common threads – resiliency, ingenuity, and creativity. Maybe they were down, but they certainly weren’t out. They’ll come back even stronger from whatever brink poses a threat.

The impact of small business is easily overlooked. They enjoy strength in numbers:
-the U.S. has 32.5 million small businesses;
-small business employment includes 61.2 million people or 46.8% of U.S. employees;
-99.9% of all firms are considered ‘small’;
-the definition of ‘small’ varies by industry type, but usually means an independent business with fewer than 500 employees;
-62% of net new jobs are attributable to small businesses; and
-39.7% of private sector payrolls are generated from small businesses

Move over, the ‘face’ of small business is changing:
-9.22% are minority owned;
-11.69% are female owned;
-3.97% are Hispanic owned;
-3.08 are African American owned;
-2.54% are Asian American owned; and
-1.76% are veteran owned

In Wisconsin, there are more than 461,500 small businesses, or 99.4% of all businesses. They employ 1.3 million associates or 49% of all employees. Small businesses in Wisconsin make a global impact. An estimated 7,647 businesses, 85.6% of the total, exported $5.6 billion worth of goods and services in 2019.

And the beat goes on. In St. Croix County, the Census QuickFacts indicates there were slightly more than 2,300 ‘employer establishments’ in 2019. They employed almost 33,000 people and reported a total annual payroll of $1.36 billion. Employment increased +2.3% from 2018 to 2019. The numbers of women-owned and minority-owned firms are up, too.

In reality, Small is Big. In the classic match-up of small versus big, don’t count out David or Davida against Goliath. Quicker, nimbler, hungrier, and more eager gives the advantage to the seeming underdog called small business.

Here’s to National Small Business Week. Go Small Go!