I know firsthand that you don’t have to be born here to feel the strength of its essence.
It exists in every city, town and small community in America. In April 2020, the number of small businesses in the US reached 31.7 million, making up 99.9 percent of US businesses (1). Small businesses are called upon by communities for support and opportunities. These include financial,employment, internships and so much more.
Small businesses aren’t just your local florist or restaurant. They include IT, trucking and oilfield service companies. In 2017, small business employment accounted for 42.9% of the total employment of the Texas Oil and Gas industry (2). People who are employed by small companies look to their employer the same way that everyone else does, not just for financial stability, but for insurance, job satisfaction, opportunities, growth and personal development. Although the scale may be smaller, the weight on owners and managers could arguably be greater.
America, especially in comparison to other countries, has historically made entering the entrepreneurial landscape straightforward and clear for the motivated. In the great state of Texas, an LLC can be registered within a few business days. Currently, there are 32.8 million small businesses in Texas which accounts for 99.8% of the state’s businesses(3). In 2017, Texas small businesses employed 4.8 million people or 45.1% of the private workforce. Pre COVID, Texas had small business growth at a rate of nearly 11%, and Texas businesses overall had the third-highest rate of average revenue growth in the country(4).
There is no doubt the pandemic has posed challenges to all businesses, both large and small. However, the pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on small business. In March and April 2020 national private employment decreased by 15.7 percent(5). Smaller employers experienced larger declines where employers with 20 – 49 employees suffered the greatest decline among all groups at 21.5 percent.
Enterprise is a crucial engine of economic growth(6). Without enterprise and entrepreneurs, there would be little innovation, little productivity growth, and few new jobs. This mix of attitudes, resources, and infrastructure is known as the entrepreneurship ‘ecosystem’. The Global Entrepreneurship Index is an annual index that measures the health of the entrepreneurship ecosystems in each of 137 countries. Even with the economic decline, it should not be a surprise that the USA is rated as the number one country for entrepreneurs.
While we have all felt a bit helpless at times during the COVID19 era, it is our individual and collective responsibility to not only fan, but to also fuel the flames that keep our entrepreneurial fire burning.
Businesses are closing due to government restrictions and industry recessions; it is not only grit and perseverance that business owners need on their side, they need the people. Even if you don’t choose to purchase, give feedback on what services and products could help you win their patronage, give them referrals and access to your network.
The sting of uncertainty still lingers and the effects of the additional financial burden have saddled families and businesses alike. 2020 has taught us the fragility of health, access to family and friends and the freedom to travel. Let’s do what we can to keep the USA the entrepreneurial mecca of the world.