Hats off to Valley businesses

Hats off to all of the businesses in Bridger Valley! The week – week of April 29 through May 5 – is officially designated as Small Business Week and is celebrated nationally.

It’s a time to celebrate America’s entrepreneurs, and the Valley is rife with people willing to put their dreams and work on the line bringing the outside world into the Valley for residents. National Small Business Week is kicked off Sunday and Monday with a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

According to the US Small Business Administration, there are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States employing 47.8 percent of US workers. All of these small businesses have a big impact on the US economy through job creation, innovation, and economic impact.

Businesses fall into the small business category if they have 50 employees or less. And, in Bridger Valley, most of the businesses are well under this figure.

Small Business Week recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Most of the businesses in the Valley don’t have a mega corporation or chain as a backbone of support. Most of the businesses are the result of an individual or a few individuals biting the bullet and realizing there were certain amenities missing from life in the Valley. They, the people behind the businesses, jumped in with both feet and took on the job.

Twenty-eight million small businesses play a vital role in our U.S. economy and represent 99.7 percent of all U.S. businesses with employees. Statisticallly, small businesses employ about 58 million members, or 47.8 percent, of the nation’s private-sector workforce. Despite the rise of mega-retailers and giant conglomerates, small businesses are an important source of job creation and healthy economic growth. Most small business owners live and work in their local community. They contribute locally in terms of wages, and purchase local services to support their business.

However, local businesses also experience the national trend the SBA call the “Walmartization” of American. This prospectus states, “Americans are increasingly favoring chains and big businesses over small and local businesses, in a process known colloquially as Walmartization.

And, this trend has also hurt Valley businesses as some of the local businesses have experienced a decline in customers in some of the areas in which local businesses have served Valley interests. As local businesses adapt and change to continue operation, the story is they need to find a “niche.” Good advice for a service company but what about a general retailer? In the major metropolitan areas, some local stores are coming back as people find it more convenient to shop in the neighborhood than to trek to the chain store, which may be miles away and doesn’t provide the same quality of customer service.

Small businesses sponsor Little League teams, advertise in local media, give to local charities and hire local people. According to the SBA, for every dollar spent at a locally-owned business generates, on average, three times the economic benefits for a local community than one dollar spent at a corporate-owned chain store.

Collectively, small businesses have been the single biggest job creators in the U.S. since the 1970s. Small businesses generate three-fifths of net new jobs.

And, as business owners know, to own and operate a business is no 9 to 5 job, but encompasses so much more. The business takes on a life of its own and becomes demanding in time and resources to succeed. Also, no passing the buck. If a job needs to be done, it becomes a matter of just-do-it, not leaving it for the second or third shift of the day.