Small business week is very meaningful to me. My grandfather emigrated from Russia in the late 1890s with just the clothes on his back. He got a job in a shipyard, saved money, followed his brother to a small town, Coatesville, outside Philadelphia, and started a corner luncheonette/newsstand across from one of the gates of Lukens Steel Company.
Then, he started a second business in wholesaling over-the-counter drugs. My father joined him, took over the business and eventually closed it to start a second business in medical equipment.
I have launched a variety of small businesses, and my daughters each have their own businesses. Four generations, each finding success proves that small business is clearly in our blood.
According to the US Small Business Administration there are over 27 million small businesses with less than $1 million in revenue. Small businesses are our country’s competitive advantage and driving force of America. Small businesses have an edge over big business for the following five reasons.
Small business owners…
- Know the community and have personal connections with the people
- Underwrite youth sports teams in their community
- Serve on city councils, school boards and participate in local Rotary clubs
- Create 60 to 80 percent of the jobs
- Provide stability to a community because they aren’t governed by outside investors pulling the plug if a quarterly number isn’t met.
So, if you are or are getting ready to launch a small business here are five ways in this week of celebrating your vision and fearlessness that you can do to drive sales and create opportunity in your community without having to match big business discounts:
- Host an open house with gifts and prizes to thank the community for its support
- Donate a portion of your profits to a local charity that benefits your community
- Team with other small business owners in your community to train middle and high school students in how to run a business
- Sponsor or organize a business plan competition for students, and grant the winner startup funding and marketing support from your and other community small businesses
- Provide free services or products to community members in need each month and share the story of your contributions on social media, etc.
The bedrock of American industry have been small business owners like black smith’s, candle stick makers and tailors. Take advantage of this incredible tradition and your place within it this Small Business Week.
Mary Nicoletti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Marc Kramer can be reached at email@example.com, or both can be reached via the University Communications office at 610-660-1222, firstname.lastname@example.org.