Remember your favorite candy or dessert shop growing up as a kid? Maybe it was a homemade ice cream shop, or a local general store that sold your favorite strawberry belts, or just come good ol’ shave ice. That’s because small businesses are a very integral, important part of our community. Whether it is providing great memories, service, or jobs these businesses are what make our society strive. America is home to over 28 million small businesses, making up most of the private sector workforce. As many as 85 million Americans depend on these small businesses’ success in order to drive our economy. In a culture that is overrun with big brand names, it would seem that these large mongrels are the driving force of our economy. However, when most of the workforce is dependent on small business and two-thirds of all new jobs are created by these small companies, this could not be further from the truth.
Small businesses are always looking to expand and grow, which is in part why they create so many jobs. They employ over 57 million workers around the country and are a great place for young members of the community to begin their working career and gain valuable work experience. Without small business the job market would be scarce and highly competitive, people would struggle on a regular basis to provide for their families. It’s easy to overlook working for a small business, as it may not be as flashy or prestigious as being a doctor or a lawyer. But this particular set of employees are hard workers and provide necessary services for our communities. Without these workers, life would be much more difficult.
Working for a small business can also come with great benefits. As most small businesses are always looking to grow and expand, that means more opportunity to grow and be promoted. While a small business may not be able to offer the best IRA or pension plan, they tend to pay closer attention to their employees’ lives and subsequent needs. Perhaps you have a family emergency and need time off, good luck getting that with a job that only provides 3 sick days a year; no exceptions. But getting that that time off when you have a close relationship with your boss who may personally know your family, will be much easier and less of a struggle. They generally are more flexible and more willing to work with your own individual schedule, so you can make your child’s next soccer game or get an extra session in at the gym.
Small businesses are just simply more involved in the community and its people. They depend on our business as much as we depend on their services. This makes them committed to not only providing us with memorable experiences and quality, but also with value and meaning. Many local businesses do so by directing getting involved in community activities and charities. They help host and sponsor events such as fairs and sporting events. They support their local high school football teams, and educational programs for children. They may even donate products for the poor or homeless, or in times of emergencies.
One example here in Hawai’i, the Ocean Education Coalition works with the community and our keiki to teach everyone to care for the ocean. They partake in the annual North Shore Ocean Fest that is host to local musicians, artists, and activists. As with many non-profit organizations, they rely on their sponsors, such as North Shore Tacos, to help bring their important message to life; ensuring that our oceans are taken care of and protected. In a time where ocean pollution is reaching staggering numbers and coral reefs are dying out around the world, it is important to teach our community to respect and care for the ocean so that people and marine life together can enjoy the ocean for many years to come.
We depend on small business and our communities would simply not be the same without them. So make sure to support your local business. Visit that new shop on the corner, even if they serve drinks in mason jars. Buy your basic groceries at the local general store or street market. Or maybe just enjoy some delicious food off a truck after a good swim.