Keith Hudson: Report provides insight into small business owners

Published 7:29 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The Kauffman Foundation has recently released a study that shows that small business activity is growing in 49 of the 50 states in the US.

While this is great news for small business owners all across the country, it’s also great news for everyone else too.

Small business owners are creating jobs and helping strengthen communities, they add a unique flavor to their communities, provide young people their first jobs, and create a multiplier effect as they attract more commerce to their local economies, they are an irreplaceable part of our American experience, a channel to grow our middle class and a path to economic opportunity.

The study also provides an interesting insight into who the small business owner is.

It’s not uncommon for a small business owner to leave the security of a good job to start their business. In fact, 81% traded that security to pursue the American Dream, 49% of them were following their passion when they went out on their own and were willing to put their own money behind it—73% used personal savings and 23% used their personal credit cards to get things off the ground.

People looking for a “9 to 5” job don’t typically start their own businesses. Two thirds of small businesses report an average 50-hour workweek and nine out of 10 spend time working on the weekends, 31.5% had businesses that were open on the weekend. 80 percent say they take work home when they leave the office and it’s not uncommon for those with families to jump back into work for a few hours after everyone else in the family has gone to bed.

Creating jobs and providing needed services and products isn’t all they do either. 80% of all small businesses support local charities and donate their time to groups like the Rotary Club, Kiwanis, or the local Chamber of Commerce.

It could be in-kind donations or contributing cash to local charities, but it’s something 82.7% of small businesses think it is important to do. 70% of the businesses surveyed supported the local high school football team or the community theater.

Being an active part of their local community is important to small business owners.

The Kauffman Foundation report is good news. These are the small local businesses we trust to do our dry cleaning, service and clean our cars, entertain us, and provide a nice place to have dinner on a Friday night.

More than anything the study shows how important these small businesses are to our community and our towns economy and unlike Amazon and other online vendors, who give nothing back to the community it is local small businesses who create the lion’s share of new jobs, hire roughly half of our friends and neighbors and do give back to our community.

Keith Hudson is CEO of Pamlico Business Resource Center.