National Small Business Week is April 29 – May 5th. Unlike many of the made-up holidays out there, this week (created by the Small Business Administration) celebrates something really important, the role entrepreneurs and small business owners play in our economy on both the local and national level.

You may not realize it but small businesses represent 99.7% of all employer firms. In fact, since 1995, small businesses have generated 64% of new jobs and paid 44% of the total United States private payroll according to the SBA. It is easy to lose sight of the role they play with all the attention on where Amazon (or some other larger company) is going to put their next headquarters, but the small business owners in your community are creating new jobs every day.

Being a small business owner isn’t easy. According to a study by “TSheets by Quickbooks.” it is almost depressingly hard. They found:

  • Business owners work long hours, 50+ hour weeks are the norm for 1 in 2 small business owners. Only 50? I think that would feel like a vacation for many of the small business owners I know, calls, emails, and texts after hours and on weekends are often the norm. And as a business owner myself, it wouldn’t be Saturday morning, if I wasn’t in the office for a few hours catching up on paperwork, proposals, and bookkeeping.
  • Speaking of vacations, in general, sick days and vacations are rare for many small business owners. I was in business for six years before I took my first real vacation. Now I consider those trips an important break. A chance to recharge my batteries, and look at my business through a longer lens, and give my team a chance to step up and lead. But it takes time to feel comfortable letting go.
  • Owning a business is not always the most profitable career choice. In the study, 43% of owners put their own money into the business and 52% actually say they could make more money elsewhere.

If owning a small business is filled with long hours, missed family events, few vacations and lots of sleepless nights why do they do it?  While I can’t speak for every small business owner, for me it is the freedom to choose how I spend my days, the ability to make a real impact in the community, and help young professionals launch their career.

So this week I am going to celebrate the small business week by shopping at local businesses, calling my small business clients, and maybe even taking an afternoon off! What will you do?

Supporting small business has always been a passion of mine. Check out this presentation from a Rainmaker event in 2009.



If you would like to see the entire study, you can find the details here.