Small Business Week 2015: New Optimism Rising

Published: May 8, 2015
Small Business Week - Dream Big

Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It is safe to say that small businesses are the backbone of America. As general as the term is, small businesses are the main driving force behind the nation’s economy.

This fact was first recognized in 1963, the year when a National Small Business Week was established as an annual event. Ever since, a number of events and awards celebrate the American entrepreneurial spirit every year. It’s also a great opportunity for startups to learn best practices from professionals and peers.

Small Business Week 2015 is organized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and this year it’s scheduled to take place from May 4-8.

For the record, according to SBA, there are close to 30 million small businesses in the U.S., which employ nearly 60% of the country’s workforce. In other words, every two out of three jobs in the country are created by small businesses.

This year, Small Business Week 2015 is running under the flag of a new trend: optimism. This is the main conclusion based on surveys conducted by Capital One and US Bank, among 3,202 small business owners with less than $10 million in annual revenue. Business, they say, is looking up, and entrepreneurs around the country feel hopeful for the future.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

A Very Good Year

Small Business Is Growing

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are small businesses healthier than they were a year or two ago? Are they ready to expand? The answer to both questions is ‘yes,’ although the business climate and unemployment rates may differ from state to state.

As the economy is gaining momentum, here’s what small business owners think:

  • Back in 2010, 89% said they felt the economy was in recession. In 2015, only 18% responded with the same opinion.
  • Back in 2013, 46% thought that the national economy was in recovery or expansion. Today, some 67% have a positive outlook.
  • Even though only 29% of small businesses have applied for a business loan in the past two years, 90% of all applicants were approved. A quarter of all small business owners have said that they plan to apply for a loan in 2015.
  • 39% of the owners claim better financial conditions this year compared to 2014.
  • Last year, the federal government awarded 23% of contracts to small businesses, for the first time in seven years. Entrepreneurs around the country see it as a good sign of trust and a possibility for growth.

Small Business Employment Facts

While the definition of small business may vary across the different industries, the surveys focus on companies with up to 250 employees.

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, small businesses employ 56.1 million of the nation’s workforce. In comparison, the share of the enterprise sector with 500+ employees is 51.6 million.
  • Companies with about 100 employees account for the largest share of employment in the country.
  • In March 2015, small businesses created 108,000 jobs, according to ADP employment records.
  • Out of the surveyed firms, 25% said that they plan to hire additional employees.

The Power of Millennials

Never underestimate the business potential of a millennial. They are technology savvy, creative, and a bit adventurous, which can often work in their favor when it comes to taking risks.

In fact, millennials comprise 25% of the American population. Half of them are thinking of starting a new business, according to the reports.

What’s more, some 60% of millennials who already own a business have stated that their earnings improved over the last 6 months, compared to 40% of the “general” small business owners.

As far as hiring new employees, 45% of the surveyed millennials have said that they plan to employ more people in the next 6 months.

Optimism seems to be marching in their ranks as well.

The Recipe for Success?

With the National Small Business Week nearing its end, let’s review the basics. Here is what you need to establish and operate a successful small business:

  • A good business plan. Revise it if you must every year, and adjust it to the current state of the local and national economy.
  • A motivated team. Find the right people, and work hard to inspire and motivate them.
  • Good Financing.
  • A little luck.

We at Lance Surety Bonds are striving to be a part of that new positive attitude and help small businesses achieve their goals and grow. Surety bonds are essential prerequisite in most industries, and we’d like to think that by providing quick and quality service, we play a small role in our customers’ success.

Happy National Small Business Week!

Tell us whether you share that newly-sprung optimism. Would you be able to expand your business and hire new people this year? Let us know in the comments below.

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Victor Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates, Inc. He began his career as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving two combat tours. As president of Lance Surety, he now focuses on educating and assisting small businesses throughout the country with various license and bond requirements. Victor graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.