Small business is the engine of this country that creates friction and propels us forward as a society. I grew up with an inside view of the small businessman as I watched my Father, who owned and operated a commercial Electrical contracting firm that built notorious landmarks in South Florida, such as Calder Race Track, Ransome Everglades and many Dade County Middle and High Schools, including Miami Dade Community College. My father employed anywhere from 15- 30 people at varying times through his life. My uncle owned his own residential electrical business, too, and served the surrounding neighborhoods for 45-plus years. My brother works for himself as a professional photographer, traveling all around the world, to bring home his self-made-man paycheck. Now, I too have a small business with an overhead. Those bills have to get paid first, or I have no business.
My boss is the owner of his small CPA Firm. He is from Brooklyn, New York, born in 1944 and from humble beginnings. His father worked in a garment factory to provide for his family. Now, my employer owns two lovely homes, travels and enjoys many other luxuries in life from the fruits of his labor. Another small business owner is a long-time friend of my family (from my high school days), who owns a small electrical company employing 5-8 people. He has been in business since 1984 and when I asked him if there were years when he paid his employees but did not draw a salary himself, he laughed and said, “Most years I did not bring in much of a profit. I have made more money in the last five years total than I did the first 20 years I was in business.” My dad used to joke that it was dangerous to be an electrician “because you could starve to death.”
A small company is considered a business that employees no more than 500 people at a time. Small companies make up 99% of all business in total, accounting for 52% of all workers in every aspect of the business world. Small companies are also notorious for employing the most elderly individuals and more part time employees than larger corporations. Approximately 20 million people work for small American companies, employing less than 20 people on the payroll. It is quite obvious that a large corporation employs many people, but what is not clear to some (the president, to name one) is that in reality it’s the “Mom and Pop” joints—the local restaurants, your tax guy, the veterinarian, and dry cleaners—that create the energy for a financial flow. And what is only seen from the inside looking out are the thousands of hours that go unpaid and unnoticed by everyone except the small business owner himself.
As is correctly stated in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, there is most definitely a degree of luck involved in the success of any business. Gladwell’s idea of being lucky, being at the right place with the right idea, is very true—but of course, it takes so very much more. It takes the endless hard work of innovation to keep starting over again and again when something fails. The successful entrepreneur has the will to keep trying until he succeeds. Gladwell sites case after case where the top people in a number of fields have invested no less than 10,000 hours to hone their craft, proving practice does makes perfect. Perhaps another reason small businesses lead the way in innovation relates to the hard wiring of entrepreneurs. Many creative people aren’t comfortable within the rigid structure of a large company; consequently, they either quit or they are fired. So, the impetus for starting their own business is–you guessed it—failure.
From Economics.com, small businesses “also represent an entry point into the economy for new groups. Women, for instance, participate heavily in small businesses. The number of female-owned businesses climbed by 89 percent, to an estimated 8.1 million, between 1987 and 1997, and women-owned sole proprietorships were expected to reach 35 percent of all such ventures by the year 2000.”
Miami is a perfect example of a city that tested the reality of the small business cash flow with the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew on August 24, 1991. For weeks on end local business doors were locked, their halls darkened and empty. Restaurants were still and barren of the familiar sound of people breaking bread together. Grocery store managers watched helpless as millions of dollars of food spoiled and soured to the lack of power and no one to buy their goods. The virility of society came to a complete and screeching halt, when every single business door was shuttered for miles and miles as local neighborhoods were shocked into fending for themselves, without any business offering to sustain them. When at long last power was restored then one by one business doors re-opened. As the insurance casualty checks started arriving in the mail, cash once again passed through the hands of our community, because of business transactions.
In 2005 the President George W. Bush declared the week of April 24 through April 30 to be Small Business Week. The following is an excerpt from his proclamation:
Our economy is strong and growing stronger. More Americans are working today than ever before. The unemployment rate is lower than the average rate of the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s. Homeownership is at a record high. Family incomes are rising. Small businesses are at the heart of this growth, creating most new private-sector jobs in our economy and helping our citizens succeed.
As small business owners and employees add to the vitality of our economy, they also inspire others to realize the full promise of our Nation. I join all Americans in celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit and hard work of our small business owners and employees.
So when the President and his mouthpieces were recommending ‘the talk ‘around our Thanksgiving tables this year, I wonder how many people understand the dynamic implications of the Affordable Care Act and the wake of carnage to the small businessman it is leaving in its path. I personally understand it all too well. Working for a CPA, I have watched business after business fall dead and silent by President Obama’s refusal to raise up the core of this country with tax breaks and incentive. The small business contributes so much to a community by way of not only offering us services and products to purchase but also by creating local job growth, in turn adding to overall improvement on a National scale. Government does not like the small businessman because he can think for himself apart and it draws citizens away from governmental assistance.
Bottom line, pure and simple, Obamacare is going to run the small businessman into the ground because they cannot afford to pay the employees insurance. Employees lose out because even if they are lucky enough to keep their job, hundreds of thousands are being pushed to part time hours. This in and of itself creates more government assistance. Small businesses give opportunity and choice to the local neighborhoods that make up the land that I love. And after all, what is freedom without any selection or occasion to live it? If we are free but have nowhere to apply that freedom, we are not living in the pursuit of happiness.