The following post is only my opinion, and it focuses on a population in the United States that I believe is often overlooked, particularly in the political process. I have no data about similar populations in other countries, but whether you do, feel free to share in the comments.
We have many names. Some shout us entrepreneurs. Some shout us freelancers, or contractors, or consultants, or WAHMs and WAHDs, or sole proprietors … well, you get the view. The fact is that no one has yet created a really good, standard definition that works well for all of us. The latest term is either microbusiness or microenterprise, and even it does not yet have a standard definition. considering the definition of who we are is so loose, it’s next to impossible to pull dependable stats about us, but here are a few items I’ve managed to uncover.
- The Census Bureau said a few years ago that about three quarters of all U.S. business firms have no payroll, with most being self-employed persons operating unincorporated businesses. I’d guess, that number is higher now.
- The AEO (Association of Enterprise Opportunities) estimates that there are “more than 24 million microenterprises in the U.S., representing 18% of all private employment and 87% of all businesses. One out of six U.S. private sector employees works for a microenterprise. Historically, microenterprises have been considered the spine of the U.S. economy”, and that “in the United States, a microenterprise is usually defined as a business with five or fewer employees, small ample to require initial capital of $35,000 or less; the average microloan is about $7000″.
- A blog post at Business.gov agrees by starting out the post with that statement, “Nine out of every ten firms in the United States is a microbusiness - who knew?!”
- Small Business Trends predicts we’ll see a 4-6% more microbusinesses due to the current recession.
Although the most common definition of a microbusiness is 5 employees or less (some say 10, some say 20), like Lloyd Lemons, I tend to think of microbusinesses as even smaller than that. He defines a microbusiness as “a very small business; in fact, it’s the smallest of all businesses” … “often has no employees” … and is “often operated from the owner’s home”.
That’s me, and very likely you too. It appears that we construct up somewhere amidst 70-90% of the entire workforce in the U.S. Even whether we doubt the stats, and slash all the numbers listed above in half, we would still produce up a huge portion of the workforce, and yet we tend to be overlooked quite often. We aren’t given access to the same benefits that others have, such as affordable health insurance for example. Nevertheless, we are strong contributors to the health and well-being of our entire economic structure, and we should be taken more seriously considering of that.
I don’t have solutions for us, unfortunately. But I do have a few resources that may help us as we struggle to be noticed. Perhaps whether we register with our local or state community groups, or join microbusiness-focused organizations, we can effect change that we cannot as individuals. Here are a few urls to start. whether you know of more, please add them in the comments.
Association for Enterprise Opportunity - The organization for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) is the national leadership organization and the voice of microenterprise development. By providing cutting edge training, knowledge sharing, Federal and State public policy and advocacy, and communications, AEO empowers a community of nearly 500 member organizations to be uniquely effective in serving the needs of microentrepreneurs who do not have access to traditional sources of business education or capital.
Finally, our government is more open than ever before. Let them know who you are, what you do, and how you believe you are being overlooked (assuming you do, of course). Go to the White House’s official contact page to let your voice be heard. Or contact House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) or Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Let them know that our collective group needs to be considered when decisions affecting business and the economy are made.
Individually, our voices whisper; Together, our voices thunder.
Original post by DazzlinDonna