While The National Federation of Independent Business’ recent report on small business owners’ optimism for the coming year was disheartening, recent trends and the success of Small Business Saturday should give us hope.
Small businesses remain at the heart of the U.S. economy and are poised to drive significant growth in 2013. There are approximately 23 million small businesses in America, which account for 54 percent of U.S. sales, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, and that number will continue to grow.
Hiring at large organizations has remained stagnant, driving more experienced people to leave the corporate world and start their own small businesses, and in turn hiring more employees. In fact, small businesses have provided 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970’s.
Small Business Saturday, which took place on November 24th, proved that consumers are willing to buy from local merchants. Consumers spent $5.5 billion at participating independent retailers, surpassing estimates of $5.3 billion, according to the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express. American Express reported that transactions at small business merchants increased approximately 21 percent compared to last year.
The U.S. government has recognized the value of Small Business Saturday as well, with elected officials in all 50 states as well as President Obama voicing their support. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a Small Business Saturday Resolution supporting efforts to encourage consumers to shop small, and to raise awareness of the importance of small businesses.
Additionally, U.S. small businesses are now emerging as global players. They are leveraging eCommerce technology and social media to connect with new customers around the world. And, according to a survey conducted by Interactive Media in Retail Group, global eCommerce sales are expected to surpass $1.25 trillion in 2013.
Even in an uncertain economic climate, it’s reassuring to see the recent success of small businesses. If the government and consumers both in the U.S. and around the world continue the recent trend of supporting local businesses, we’ll see in 2013 that small really can be mighty.
Girl self-employed in flower shop Photo via Shutterstock