Nobody celebrates National Small Business Week (which ended as my show aired on Saturday) with ostentatious parties. In fact, nobody even brought it up to me this past week in any form of conversation that didn't involve a large company trying to sell me something as a small business owner.
And that's OK. To be perfectly honest, I would prefer a benign indifference to my existence over most of the alternatives. I definitely get the sense of indifference -- but to be frank, it's not often that benign.
Here are a few reasons why you should care about small business, even if you're not an owner or employee of one:
If you work for a large employer, you may not think you care, but...
- ...do you sell to small businesses (insurance, cars, furniture)?
- ...do you rely on small vendors (often easier to work with than big ones)?
- ...do you like your salary (you need competition from upstarts to maintain your own market value)?
If you're in the government, then it may not be obvious why you should care, other than the platitudes...
- ...but a market that forever chases only the big employers runs the "company town" risk. Just ask Pittsburgh or Cleveland (or anyplace in the Rust Belt). Just ask Seattle (big, but it depends on Boeing). Just ask Houston (the oil boom came and went and came back and now what?).
- A market with a vibrant small business community is more robust by design and nature. It may be harder to mobilize big investments among lots of little employers, but the market itself will be much more resilient. Would Silicon Valley have been better off with one big employer, or with the many?
And, finally, many of our biggest companies are only a generation old! All big businesses start small. And we need to replace the big companies that themselves come to the end of their life cycles. That's just the nature of evolutionary and competitive capitalism.
Listen below to the leadoff segment (on this very topic) from my latest show: