May 2023 President's Letter
In May, small is the new big…
Mark Twain said, “What little things change the world's history.” While Twain’s generality covers the vast multitude of the world and its history, his thought applies with equal strength to an area of import and focus in our WTS-LA world—small businesses.
It’s small business month. And while most people won’t take to the streets or book an elegant dinner to celebrate, they should because small businesses have an outsized impact on our lives. Consider this. Small businesses account for nearly 50% of economic activity in the US. According to the US Small Business Association (SBA), small businesses with 500 employees or fewer comprise 99.9% of all US businesses. 99.9%! Between 1995 and 2020, small businesses created 62% of new jobs in the US. In 2014 (the most recent year this data were available), nominal small business GDP measured $5.9 trillion. And in 2020, the SBA reported 31.7 million small businesses in the US.
On average, it takes only six days to officially start a business. But that statistic is a little misleading, as the work it takes to launch a small business is very much like the analogy of an iceberg—90% of it goes unseen. While it may only take six days to file the paperwork and get started, most small businesspeople spend years planning and developing their businesses. So, let’s honor that incredibly difficult, vital work.
Celebrated every May, small business month is a tribute to the courage, community efforts, and hard work small businesses endure throughout the year. The backbone of the US economy, they are also often the “unsung heroes of the American Dream.” And often, there is a lone dreamer driving a small business. Approximately 70% of all small businesses are owned and operated by a single person. So, they not only need our support but deserve it when you consider how much they contribute to the American economy. So, what can we do?
First and foremost, recognition matters. Take a moment from your day and acknowledge a small business owner or worker by celebrating their fortitude and grit. Show them your appreciation. Next, if you can invest in, partner with, or directly hire a small business, do it. If you are a small business or work for one, find another small business to join forces with. Finally, raise awareness about small businesses by telling their stories. If you know of a small business and their narrative, spread the word. If you don’t, ask around. Some of the stories of survival and success are astounding and inspiring and well worth celebrating this month. So, let’s do it.
WTS LA continues to support local small businesses, and we always look for ways to provide even more value. Please be on the lookout for more small business opportunities becoming available over the next year, and reach out to us if you have ways we can be of even more assistance.
Little things change the world’s history. Small businesses do exactly that here in the US. So, be a part of changing our history by honoring a small business this month.
Heather Anderson, PE
WTS-LA 2023-2024 President