~The unicorn is part of the world of nature and part of the world of dreams–and completely of the heart. In many ways, it is a symbol of our longing for the mysterious and the unattainable~

A few weeks ago I attended the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) Leadership Council conference. It was incredibly humbling and energizing to be in a room with other small business owners that share the same pain points, challenges and failures. In a lot of ways small businesses are unicorns, we pour our heart and soul into pursuing what most consider unattainable.

Small businesses are magical, they are by far the most beneficial to our economy on a statewide and nationwide level. There are a lot of small businesses out there, yet it would seem we don’t truly understand the power of being small.

Here are some interesting small biz stats for you on a statewide level (2012-2013 – is the latest data from youreconomy.org):

  • 99.90% of all businesses in Michigan are considered *small.
  • Small Business equates for 80.13% of total sales in the state. How about that for buying power.
  • Growth of the number of small businesses over the last 10 years is approximately 5%.

Did you know that small businesses account for 99.7 percent of all of the employers in the U.S.? The Small Business Administration reports that from 2005 to 2008, small businesses were responsible for creating 81.4 percent of the net new jobs in the U.S. As we all  know, job growth is imperative for the continued growth of the U.S. economy, and small businesses meet those needs with new jobs being created all the time.

So what can you do as a small business?

  • Well for one, join www.sbam.org (and no this is not a paid commercial), I wouldn’t recommend it if 834 didn’t receive significant benefit from it. SBAM had a pivotal role in ending the Michigan Business Tax (MBT) as well as the Personal Property Tax (PPT). They are one of the largest state based associations in the country with 25,000 members and put on the largest peer to peer small business summits with over 800 companies and over 360 buyer opportunities.
  • Support other small businesses. Shop small on November 28th for Small Business Saturday and show the country just how significant buying local is. Frankly any day of the week, supporting small businesses should be part of your everyday routine.
  • Educate yourself. Understand your state’s agenda as it relates to small businesses. Familiarize yourself with legislators working on your behalf and become actively involved.

It was refreshing to be around other business owners that understand their value and how it translates on an economic level for Michigan. We have a long way to go to but we are lucky to be represented by an organization such as SBAM that advocates on behalf of small businesses.

There is power in numbers.

*Small business for these stats is considered 499 employees or less (SBA standards).

Sources: www.sba.gov, www.sbam.org, www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small

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