I don’t know if it’s the technological advancements or simply a reflection of the state of the economy, but businesses are getting smaller. I have three jobs, I manage operations for the Potrero Dogpatch Merchants Association (PDMA) and Allpointe Insurance Services, and I’m the community manager here at LocalOn. It may seem like a lot, but compared to when I worked in the corporate world, I’m much more satisfied with my quality of life. Maybe that’s because of the increased autonomy I have, or due to the fact that I get to work with small business owners daily, personally witnessing the impact they have on their communities.
Allpointe’s total staff is less than five employees, as I’m sure is the case with many businesses in the LocalOn community, the new norm for small businesses. The Bureau of Labor released a study in March which shows that the average size of new start-ups was 4.7 employees in 2011, down from 7.6 employees in the 1990s. While President Obama’s small business tax credit and other tax plans may help some some small businesses, they do nothing for the 88% of small businesses that have fewer than 5 employees or the self employed.
Working for a small business and a small business organization like PDMA has opened my eyes to a whole new world. A world where local, independent merchants play major roles in terms of job creation and economic growth. It seems like it’s time for policy makers to start making some of the same shifts I see small business owners making every day in their thought processes to address the new norms. We need policies that will help the 88% majority of small businesses. There are a variety of programs currently in place to help small businesses, like SBA PRIME and Microloan Technical Assistance, and if these programs received adequate government attention and funding, small businesses could be an even greater asset in terms our nation’s economic recovery.