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Have you hugged an entrepreneur today?

Written by Spencer X. Smith

Think back to a few months ago when we were in the throes of campaign season before the elections.  Don't you miss all the political ads?  Me neither.  One thing was especially offensive about those ads - regardless of political affiliation, both parties love to take credit for creating jobs while bashing the other side for losing or not creating them.  Despite their rhetoric, we all know there are business owners toiling daily to actually create and support jobs. Nowhere is that more evident than it is in our local communities and local economies.  Keeping that in mind, here’s a question: Have you hugged an entrepreneur today?

 Baby hug

We are the 99.7%

The U.S Small Business Administration defines “small business” as a firm with fewer than 500 employees. Per the SBA definition, then, small businesses represent 99.7% of U.S. employers.  The SBA’s research also shows that 63% of net new private-sector jobs have been created between 1993 and mid-2013.

“But wait,” you might be saying. “99.7% of employers have created only 63% of new jobs?” Keep this in mind – only one in four small business owners actually want to grow their companies. Why is that? Large – and especially publicly-traded – companies have to grow for growth’s sake to appease the Board of Directors and shareholders.  The executives and Boards of these companies are tasked with one simple objective – generate more profit than in the past. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, don’t have to grow every single year just to be successful. Simply put, sometimes enough is exactly that.

If only 25% of all small businesses have a desire to expand, that 63% of net new jobs becomes more notable, doesn’t it? Here’s what also adds a significant wrinkle to that statistic – as a small business grows beyond 500 employees, it’s no longer classified as small (per the SBA). That demarcation is critical because those job gains suddenly shift to credit large employers as soon as employee #501 comes aboard.

Why should you hug an entrepreneur?

Ask any entrepreneur why he or she started their business, and you’ll hear a variety of answers.

  • “I want to be my own boss.”
  • “I had an idea for a business and I just needed to go for it.”
  • “I want to be in control of my own successes.”

Regardless of the reason, one overarching theme will run true with all business owners, whether he or she verbalizes it or not – this entrepreneur wants to contribute to society through his or her efforts. This entrepreneur knows the only way to run a viable business is to add value to others’ lives. This entrepreneur only grows successful when customers vote with their dollars. This entrepreneur knows that, without their efforts, the world would not be quite as good a place.

How can you find these entrepreneurs? If you live in Dane County in Wisconsin, start with an organization like Dane Buy Local, an organization of 800+ local businesses that have pledged to support the community and each other.

The next time you see a “jobs” commercial

Know that hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs are hard at work actually creating and supporting the jobs for which others are taking the credit. Consider giving these entrepreneurs a (figurative) hug by voting for them with your dollars.


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