why micro business monday?

Because “Small Business Sundays” was already taken (seriously, but not seriously).

For several years I worked as a small business consultant and program manager for a not-for-profit CDFI (community development financial institution) in South Los Angeles. Each year we served hundreds of entrepreneurs, mostly in the beginning stages, on their path towards developing a sustainable enterprise. From this experience, I learned that we were communicating to our clients in conflicting ways. On one hand, we offered a gamut of services – from expansion loans to a peer-based entrepreneurship program modeled after Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank – in an effort to create a “one-stop-shop” in one of the most dis-invested areas of Los Angeles. On the other hand, we made assumptions that these were the best-fitting tools to serve our population. After graduating participants through our small business programs we then sent them out into the world, officially, as small business owners. And then we learned that many services and programs that target small business owners are out of reach to many entrepreneurs because the term itself is too liberally applied and too broadly defined.

The danger with the label small business is that it fails to accurately capture the reality of the majority of business owners.

The SBA, for most industries, defines a “small business” either in terms of the average number of employees over the past 12 months, or average annual receipts over the past three years. In addition, SBA defines a U.S. small business as a concern that:

  • Is organized for profit
  • Has a place of business in the US
  • Operates primarily within the U.S. or makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor
  • Is independently owned and operated
  • Is not dominant in its field on a national basis

The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or any other legal form. In determining what constitutes a small business, the definition will vary to reflect industry differences, such as size standards

– SBA.gov “Qualifying as a Small Business”

A small business typically has more than five employees but can have as many as 500 employees. This means a small franchise like In-N-Out can be considered a small business as well as the popular Etsy store that sells hand-crafted soaps.

micro-entrepreneurs have different needs

Micro-entrepreneurs are a powerful force. In the U.S. businesses with one owner and up to five employees constitute an amazing 92% of all businesses started. This means that if you’re an entrepreneur you’re likely one of them or started as one.

The only problem with the often harmless association of small business to the experience of the emerging entrepreneur is expectations. Simply put, there are particular challenges and advantages of operating a micro-business that aren’t necessarily present in small business. This blog is an attempt to respect the distinction and create a space for the 92% for learning from their perspective.

#MBM // #MicroBusinessMonday // #microbiz // #microbusiness // #businesscurator