Small Businesses Then and Now

Although the entrepreneurial spirit remains strong among small business owners, a lot has changed over the past six decades. Here are some of the major differences between present day small businesses and those from the 1960’s and 70’s.

This post is a part of a series celebrating National Small Business Week. 

Although the entrepreneurial spirit remains strong among small business owners, a lot has changed over the past six decades. Here are some of the major differences between present-day small businesses and those from the 1960s and ’70s:

Major differences between small businesses now and then

  • During the 1960’s, big business dominated the domestic economic landscape which made it difficult for small firms to compete. In the 1950’s, small business output accounted for roughly 58 percent of total domestic output. This number dropped to around 48 percent in the early 60’s and, by 1977, small businesses with fewer than 500 employees produced only 46.5 percent of business output in the United States. Today, small business’s contribution is starting to grow again, and the SBA estimates that the output percentage of GDP is back up to 50 percent.
  • In 1965, the top five industries for startup companies were: housing, computer technology, chemicals, electrically powered consumer durables and automobile services/parts. Today, the top five fastest growing industries are: candy, mobile apps, accounting services, fast casual dining and green construction.
  • In the 1950’s and 60’s, the SBA only classified companies employing less than 250 employees as small businesses. This number increased to less than 500 employees in the 1970’s. Today, firms with fewer than 500 workers account for 99.7 percent of employer firms. There are currently 28 million small businesses in the United States and they outnumber large corporations 1162 to 1.
  • In 1960, minorities owned roughly 10 percent of small businesses in the United States. As of 2007, the number of minority-owned businesses increased to 21.3 percent (one-fifth) of the nation’s 28 million small businesses.
  • In 1972, women owned only 4 percent of all American businesses. Today, 38 percent of American businesses are owned by women.

Other interesting figures from 2013

  • 70 percent of small businesses survive past two years while only 50 percent make it past five.
  • Small businesses employ 57 percent of the country’s private workforce.
  • 50.8 percent of small business owners have college degrees.
  • Immigrants make up 12.5 percent of small business owners in the United States.
  • 54 percent of small businesses are operated from home. Only 2 percent are franchises.

What changes do you think are on the horizon for small businesses in the next 50 years?

If you’re a small business owner using Shoeboxed for your business and would like to share your experience, we’d love to hear from you.

Shoeboxed is a painless receipt scanning & expense managing solution for small business owners. Shoeboxed helps you reduce piles of paper receipts, turning them into organized and actionable digital data. This action will save you time and clutter and allow you to focus on your core mission, as well as gain remarkable success.

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Calling All Small Business Superheroes!

This year marks the 50th annual National Small Business Week. To celebrate, we’re joining the Small Business Superhero Contest, sponsored by BatchBook! Enter now for a chance to win an awesome prize package from companies including FreshBooks, BoostSuite, Olark and, of course, yours truly.

This post is a part of a series celebrating National Small Business Week. If you’re a small business owner using Shoeboxed for your business and would like to share your experience, we’d love to hear from you.

For the past six years, Batchbook has recognized the heroic efforts of small businesses around the country, and this year we’re joining the celebration. Three lucky superheroes will win awesome prize packages for their small business– one of which includes a free year of Shoeboxed! But there’s more: every entrant will receive 50 free MOO cards, as well as free access to Silver Lining Limited’s summer bootcamp (a $299 value), which will help businesses overcome the problem of “too little time, too little money.”

You can learn more about the contest on the BatchBook blog. To enter, just choose your superpower from the list below and then share how it helps you run your business.

Here are the superpowers you can choose from:

  • Empathy: You know when to give a hug
  • Omnipresence: You are always there to save the day
  • Superhuman speed: You make decisions faster than a speeding bullet
  • Superhuman vision: You have super vision to see your future success
  • Technopathy: You know your way around any new technology
  • Time travel: You rescue your employees from time-wasting meetings
  • Duplication: You get so much done, it’s like there are two of you
  • Superhuman energy: Your energy keeps the whole business humming

To join the contest, just head over to the BatchBook Facebook page and fill out the form! Here are the Small Business Makeover packages you could win:

The Business Package

  • 1 year Large Batchbook account
  • $300.00 Grasshopper Credit
  • 1 year RightSignature Business account
  • 1 year Formstack Professional Plan
  • 1 year FreshBooks Evergreen Plan
  • $50.00 MOO credit
  • Google Gooru Consultation (Free 1-hour Gmail Productivity Training Session & Free 1-hour Google Drive Productivity Training Session)
  • 99designs Power Pack (Includes complimentary half-hour design consultation with a branding team)
  • Free Lifetime access to SLAPcenter business training platform

The Marketing Package

  • Free logo from 99designs (includes complimentary half-hour design consultation with a branding team)
  • $100.00 Grasshopper Credit
  • 1 year Edocr Business Account
  • BoostSuite Web Marketing Consultation
  • Batchbook Cloud Help Consultation
  • $250 MOO credit
  • 3 Months of DirectMail Manager & $100 credit
  • 3 months free Large Batchbook account
  • 1 year free Emma account

The Tech Package

  • 1 year free Shoeboxed Classic plan
  • 1 year Cazoomi SyncApps account
  • $200.00 Grasshopper Credit
  • Unlimited users account with Janrain Engage
  • $100 MOO credit
  • Free 99designs Pro Tools (includes complimentary half-hour design consultation with a branding team)
  • 1 year ScreenSteps Live Plus plan
  • 4 months free of Olark’s “Lost Silver” plan
  • 3 months free Large Batchbook account

Enter now!

Image via Flickr

Celebrating the 50th Annual National Small Business Week

Happy National Small Business Week! Since 1963, each U.S. President has officially recognized this week in June in honor of American small businesses throughout the country. It’s a time to celebrate the incredible contributions made my small businesses, freelancers and solopreneurs.

This post is a part of a series celebrating National Small Business Week. If you’re a small business owner using Shoeboxed for your business and would like to share your experience, we’d love to hear from you.

Happy National Small Business Week!

Since 1963, each U.S. President has officially recognized this week in June in honor of American small businesses throughout the country. It’s a time to celebrate the incredible contributions made my small businesses, freelancers and solopreneurs.

Forget corporate America – the engine of the American economy is driven by small businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Association, over 50% of all Americans own a small business or are employed by a small business, and over 65% of new jobs each year are created by small businesses. No wonder there has been an entire week dedicated to honoring small businesses!

The U.S. Small Business Administration is a government-run agency with offices in all 50 states. Its primary goal is to offer support to small businesses by providing them with government-backed loans, disaster recovery assistance and access to entrepreneurial development programs.

Every year, the SBA nominates an outstanding small business or solopreneur from each of the 50 states and U.S. territories. While National Small Business Week events take place in five cities across the country, including Washington D.C., Dallas, Seattle, St. Louis and Pittsburgh, 54 nominees will travel to the nation’s capital to compete for their chance to win the National Small Business Person of the Year Award.

Just like the SBA’s founder DeWitt Emery, a small business owner who worked to support small business advancement throughout the country, this year’s State Small Business winners and National Person of the Year nominees have demonstrated innovation in terms of their operations, job growth and contributions to the U.S. economy, wherever they may happen to be.

Here are a few of this year’s most inspiring nominees and what makes their small business worth noting:

national-small-business-week-1Brushy Mountain Bee Farm (North Carolina)

Who they are

North Carolina’s State Small Business Person of the Year honors the owners of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, a small business that has grown to become one of the biggest suppliers of beekeeping supplies in the entire country. In addition to selling the supplies needed to start your very own bee colony, the guys at Brushy Mountain show you how to make soaps, candles and other products using your very own beeswax.

Why they got nominated

In addition to providing their customers with high quality products and beekeeping supplies, the Brushy Mountain crew has set themselves apart by positioning themselves as experts in their chosen field. A visit to the Brushy Mountain website offers much more than a simple sales pitch – customers are provided with a variety of educational resources to help them make the most out of their hobby and get their questions answered.

The Brushy Mountain blog, FAQ page and weekly webinars offer bee enthusiasts the ability to get started on the right track. This creates trust between the customer and the company, and ensures that when it’s time to make a purchase, Brushy Mountain will be the first place a customer thinks to go.

In addition to education, the Brushy Mountain crew have shown themselves to be masters of customer service. The owners list their home phone number right on the website, one of our favorite tactics for keeping clients happy and providing the optimum in personalized service.

They also offer a live chat option, creating an image of accessibility that makes customers feel cared for and catered to.

Brushy Mountain also wins mad marketing points by positioning themselves as leaders in their particular niche. Instead of attempting appeal to beekeepers and organic farmers and hobbyist gardeners, they worked to appeal to a hyper-specific target market. These guys only sell beekeeping supplies, and only focus on beekeeping products and education. By clearly defining themselves and their position in the market, they’ve been able to attract their ideal customers and develop long term relationships with them.

M BAR C Construction (California)

Who they are

Ok, so while they don’t have the catchiest name ever, M BAR C Construction is in the running for National Business Person of the Year. The company’s owner, Michael Ianni, has received the award for California Business Person of the Year – no small feat for a company operating in the most populous state in the country.

M BAR C Construction is a family owned and operated small business that evolved from M BAR C Carports, a construction company that has been building and installing carports since the 1970s. By the 1990s, the Ianni family saw an opportunity to go green, and began focusing on the construction of solar panels.

Why they got nominated

So what makes this small business a cut above the rest?

M BAR C Construction has survived and thrived because of its ability to change with the times and adapt its services to the changing needs of its customers. In 2005, the company formed a completely separate division that focuses strictly on the design and installation of solar panels. By taking a risk in the late ‘90s, before everyone else jumped on the environmental bandwagon, they’ve been able to position themselves as an industry leader in their market.