Small Business Is the Backbone of America

During National Small Business Week, we celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurs across the United States.

It all starts with two words--"What if?"--and grows from there: Dream, dare, do. Even if you've never owned your own small business, you've worked for one or know someone who has. In observance of National Small Business Week, April 25-29, it's only right that we celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit--the adrenaline that fuels the American dream.

Innovation and job creation are the foundation of a healthy economy. In the United States, we rely on the small-business community for both of these precious resources. Owning a business, like owning a home, is part of the national fabric. Entrepreneurs embody the strength and character that help make our country great.

Goods, services and technology produced by U.S. small businesses make up the world's third-largest economy, after the United States overall and Japan. The small-business community has sustained our economy when it has slowed and is helping put us back on track for growth. Need proof? Look at the numbers: Small companies represent 99 percent of all U.S. businesses and employ more than half the American workforce. Other statistics to note, according to the SBA, include these:

  • Small businesses create 75 percent of the net new jobs in our economy.
  • Small businesses pay more than 44 percent of the nation's private payroll.
  • More than 50 percent of the U.S. private gross domestic product is generated by small businesses.
  • Almost 97 percent of exporters are small businesses.

Entrepreneurs are resourceful. According to the SBA, 70 percent of all U.S. businesses are started with less than $20,000 in capital. They provide services and products with fewer people and resources than big businesses. They can take products to market quicker because they aren't bogged down by bureaucracy. And because small businesses know their customers personally, they understand consumer attitudes and can respond to market conditions more quickly.

The nation's small-business community is a vital source of competition, which forms the foundation for innovation and fuels our free enterprise system. Entrepreneurs realize that they're undertaking no small feat when they decide to launch a business enterprise. But at the end of the day, they're the first to say that the effort is worth it.

As we celebrate National Small Business Week, let's salute the entrepreneurial dreamers, darers and doers. They represent the backbone of America.

Paul Sarvadi is the "Human Resources" coach at Entrepreneur.comand is chairman of the board, CEO and co-founder of Administaff,one of the nation's leading Professional Employer Organizations (PEO), which serves as an outsourced full-service human resources department for small and medium-sized businesses throughout the United States.