Small Businesses Will Lead Us to a Better Future

Polling firm Zogby International conducted a joint interactive poll with WeMedia, asking the question: “Who will lead us to a better future?”

Americans put entrepreneurs and small businesses at the top of the list, with 63% of Americans saying entrepreneurs and small businesses would lead the way. Next were science and technology leaders, with 52% of Americans having confidence they would lead us forward. Here’s the chart:

Small businesses will lead us to better future

Government, which should be leading, came in at 31%. Large corporations and business leaders came in next at 21%. Traditional news media such as newspapers, television, radio, and magazines bringing up the rear with just 13% having faith in them to lead the way.

A couple of observations on this:

(1) Small businesses are definitely going through a time of “high popularity”. But Andrew Nachison, CEO of the media think tank iFOCOS, sees this as part of a fundamental cultural change. He points out that dissatisfaction with government, big business and the media runs deep. That, he says, is leading individuals to take charge: “If big business, government or the media won’t lead, we’ll lead ourselves. We’ll create our own businesses and our own media to build a better future. No matter where you sit or what you do, that’s a call to action to participate, to inspire hope and bring prosperity to more people. It’s an agenda for everyone: Lead us to a better future.”

(2) Is anybody surprised by the traditional media falling to the bottom? To some degree it’s a matter of being in a beleaguered industry (print media) struggling to make money — it’s hard to see a future for newspapers and magazines that are declaring bankruptcy and laying off journalists right and left. But there’s something deeper, too. The polarization in favor of one political side or the other has undermined the public’s confidence in the mainstream media. Instead of being political activists, maybe, just maybe, a return to factual reporting would restore some confidence in the media.

Your thoughts? Why do you suppose the numbers came out as they did?

(Hat tip to Martin Lindeskog for this survey.)

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

37 Reactions
  1. Anita,

    Thanks for the hat tip note! 🙂 I found the link on InstaPundit’s blog

    Here is a quote from Michael T. Hull, small business advocate:

    “There are over 27 million small businesses in this country. During these economic times, they will produce 100% of the net new jobs in the economy.”

    For more on this issue, click on “Martin Lindeskog” Says: and read my post, Small Business Advocate.

  2. Glad to see small biz & entrepreneurs at the top of this poll! The same source that made this country great is the most likely source to restore what’s been lost.

  3. Sounds good to me. Not surprised that large corporations have such a low percentage in this case. Small businesses are so much more agile and can more easily adapt to bad financial climates like this one.

  4. It’s good to see that confidence in small business is high! That means that we small business owners really need to step up, the pressure is on and the country is counting on us!

    “Government, which should be leading, came in at 31%.”

    I’d argue that governemt should never “lead” anything to a brighter future. They should provide the support (via laws, infrastructure, etc.) to allow it’s citizens to do the leading. But that’s a whole different topic!

  5. Matt,

    I agree with your statement. I recommend you to read my philosophical post, Name of the Rose, if you want to what should be the true nature of the government.

  6. Shonika Proctor, Teen Biz Coach

    Teens creating a wide range of micro businesses with socially responsible objectives will lead us to a better future 🙂

  7. That’s awesome. It’s nice to see that americans have more confidence in small businesses than in larger businesses. That is truly encouraging. 🙂

  8. Anita,
    I have said this for 40 years:
    “Small Business Drives America”

    {Ok. I didn’t say that 40 years ago. But I know I have said it in my franchise seminars, for the last 7 years.}

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  9. Honestly this is great news to see that small businesses are leading the way. The data you presented is as good as saying that individual citizens are becoming responsible for themselves and for the country.

  10. Anita,

    Thanks for sharing this information. As someone who works with start-ups and small businesses, I firmly agree with this data.


    – John

  11. This is great information. I think that small business typically leads the way because they have the innovations and the ability to shift quickly. They can focus on the market. Too many people focus on government intervention and all the government can really do is spend our money! I think that we are better at that than they are!

    Small Business Revolution!! Happy Friday!

    Jeremy @ Refocusing Technology

  12. Hi Matt (Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy), Martin and Jeremy,

    I have received several emails along the lines of your comments — that we shouldn’t expect government to lead, especially when it comes to economic matters.

    I’m interested to hear what others think. Do I get 5 lashes with a wet noodle? Am I off base in suggesting that we should expect some government leadership?

    — Anita

  13. This is a good sign of people’s perceptions, however it is important to note that we need government to make a positive contribution to do their jobs correctly to help small businesses, entrepreneurs, and science help us succeed. This does not mean “bail-outs” and restrictive policies as many pundits want us to believe. It means that the mega-tax-breaks that giant corporations have been enjoying to ship our jobs out of the country must stop. It means that people need to come together and support prudent government spending. A powerful, well run government makes the difference between a successful nation and a failing nation. Science and small businesses are the horse that will make prosperity, but they need a supportive government to survive in the atmosphere of corporate giants who squash all who oppose them.
    I am optimistic that our administration has the right path for us, but frustrated that many vocal people are attacking the “excessive spending” that needs to happen for us to thrive. It is counter-productive to go back to the way we’ve been doing things, with the cloak of belief that “small government is better.” We’ve not had small government, we’ve had ineffective government.
    Finally, for small business and science to advance, that means we need to abolish the private multi-payer insurance system that is stunting our lives. Small business people cannot afford health-care, and doctors and scientists cannot make the advances they are capable of while having to deal with the endless paperwork and administration involved. If you think about it, a Universal healthcare system does support our success as a nation.

  14. Small Businesses Will Lead Us to a Better Future. if we continue to creat new small businesses.

    So we created
    The Funding Roadmap system provides the kind of disclosure and transparency that will rebuild the confidence necessary to accelerate the flow of capital into the hands of more compliant and successful companies. The engine of our economic growth is the creativity and ambition of millions of entrepreneurs, and our online platform is a timely matchmaking tool for the marriage of capital to these new expanding businesses.

  15. I think that entrepeneurs are more trusted to lead the nation because:
    1. They are generally competent. An incompetent entrepeneur quickly becomes a former entrepeneur.
    2. Entrepeneurs cannot afford the luxury of trying to impose their will on others as those in the other groups can. In most cases, an entrepeneur succeeds by making his customers happy.
    It’s good to see that people still understand what’s up.

  16. Anita,

    You have to tell me more about the expression a “wet noodle”! 😉

    Do you like pasta? 🙂

    As a weekend reading material, I recommend you to read Ayn Rand’s essay, The Nature of Government.

  17. Anita, you are way off base. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, government is not the solution. It is the problem. Government has no business leading anything. It needs to get out of the way and let us succeed or fail on our own.

  18. Thanks, Harry! (I think.) 🙂

  19. Anita, it is interesting to compare this graph to Google’s increased emphasis on big brands.
    At a time when people trust small business to lead, Google is choosing to gravitate to the big brands.

    Will people start to trust Google less if they promote big brands (with big advertising budgets) at the expense of more relevant small businesses (who don’t spend as much on advertising with Google)?

  20. Getting rid of (by extermination in large concentration death camps if necessary) of the shysters, shylocks and Banksters and the laws that let them rape America and reduce it to a third world (GRD) great republican depression will do the trick. Bush should be tried for war crimes and jiggering the economy. The Uber-rich must be taxed out of existence, and the middle class educated to Asian standards before America can rise again. The “American Dream” as promoted in the commercials is dead now,unaffordable by anyone, and a new sane, non-commercial renewable, sustainable formula must be found, and quickly, America is sinking like a stone, and will soon rival Johannesburg for Third-worldliness. The arrogant aristocrats have sold out everything, even manufacturing has gone off-shore. America is convulsing while its people watch helplessly and the Uber-classes slide away with huge Asian investments paying good dividend income, to sunny climates in ignorant bliss. Asia is eating us alive, without condiments, and it is not comfortable at all. Revolt and Anarchy in the streets is coming on as fast as hunger and homelessness. We need to feed the poor, and house the homeless with all our strength, and be prepared to suffer the same fate, as the Asian economic plan for our destruction works its way through an innocent, ignorant and over-drugged people. All is Not well in America, we Do have problems, We Do Not have solutions, and we have been bred as grist for the capitalist machine that has since moved to Asia and forsaken us here in America. We Are in trouble!

  21. It all has to do with talk vs action.

    Politicians talk while those in business and engineering get things done.

    It’s that simple.

  22. @Glenn
    Wow, interesting thought. I don’t know that people will trust them less or more for promoting big brands. There are still thousands of small biz using adwords, so they appear right next to the big boys (and girls). You raise a great point though — over time, will we continue to trust another brand, be it an enormous online one, if it recommends or does things that are counter to our knowledge and intuition of trusting small biz. I’m a huge Google fan, but I know people who have sworn off Google because of how they have made certain biz decisions in China and elsewhere.

    Thanks for this food for deeper thought.

  23. I don’t know if we have any links to the Kauffmann Foundation of Entrepreneurship already here, but if you’re looking for more stats on the importance of small biz, their recent PDF on “Entrepreneurship and the Economy” is worth a look.

  24. Very, very true. We’re all in this together, and the way we’ll get through it is by supporting each other.

    shop locally —

  25. “Government, which should be leading, came in at 31%”. I fundamentally disagree with this, and the mentality that the government will fix everything for us (or should) is rooted in Marxism and Communism. Government is there because it IS the people; government is not designed to lead us. WE have to lead in a democracy; otherwise we are not a democracy anymore. Which begs the question, are we capable as individuals (read: small business) of leading to prevent our democratic way of life from dissipating? If not, the government WILL step in and lead, and decide what we need and don’t need. Actually, they are already deciding what we need, aren’t they?! (AIG for example).

  26. (previous post) —> IMAO

  27. I think everyone has about had it with big companies and government. That’s for sure.

  28. I think that small business help our economy as much as larger businesses do!

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