The impact of small business is anything but small.
Small businesses help drive not only our local economy, but also help create many of the ideas and experiences that make our Grand Traverse region so special. From wineries and breweries to world-class restaurants, unique retail stores, recreation, service, and entertainment, local entrepreneurs provide unique opportunities for both tourists and locals to embrace and enjoy the best of our region.
Small businesses also create jobs... and that’s big. According to statistics from the Small Business Administration (SBA), since 1990, big businesses eliminated four million jobs while small businesses created eight million jobs. Small firms accounted for 65 percent (or 9.8 million) of the 15 million net new jobs created between 1993 and 2009.
Small businesses are also incubators for innovation. In fact, an SBA study determined small businesses produce 16 times as many patents per employee as large patenting firms. There are a surprising number of local entrepreneurs who have developed and successfully launched innovative new products in our community.
Given their importance, how do we help ensure small businesses succeed? Some of the most important keys to success are:
n Access to capital. Whether traditional financing, alternative funding, or support from friends and family, small businesses need capital.
n Access to skilled employees. Developing and retaining a skilled local workforce is important to the success of our region’s small businesses.
n Access to expertise and guidance. Thankfully, many business resources are available to assist entrepreneurs such as SCORE, the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Administration, Traverse Area District (Business) Library, Northwestern Michigan College, and more.
n Community support. We can all contribute to the success of our small business community by shopping at locally-owned businesses and buying local products as much as possible.
On May 29, the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Small Business of the Year will be named. Therefore, it seems like an especially appropriate time to celebrate and acknowledge the significant impact of small business.
For further guidance on starting and growing your small business, contact Traverse City SCORE at 888-796-4913 or visit www.UpNorthScore.com to schedule a free and confidential appointment with an experienced SCORE mentor.
Bruce Finlayson, a volunteer mentor and Chairman of SCORE Traverse City, is a consultant and former business executive with experience in business operations.