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Small Business Week 2013
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National Small Business Week 2013

This being National Small Business Week, there’s a lot of buzz coming from politicians about the importance of small businesses and the people who dare to create them. I came across an article written by Dan Danner, President and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), of which Mercantile is a member. In fact, you may recall that we’ve supported the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation through sales of my book, The Entrepreneur’s Secret to Creating Wealth (go here to read about how we’re “paying it forward”).

Dan wrote about things that small business owners might say during National Small Business Week if they were given the media spotlight instead of Washington talking heads. Frankly, I think he’s spot on and I can’t improve on his sentiments, so I’m going re-post here what appeared on three days ago (you can see the original post here if you like)…

What Small Business Owners Want You To Know

By Dan Danner, Published June 17, 2013 |

During National Small Business Week, politicians and bureaucrats give a lot of lip service to small business. But you might wonder what the small-business community itself might say if they themselves had the podium this week.

Here’s what I think they would say:

I’m a risk taker — but my risks are purposeful.

I’m different from a lot of folks, because I take the risks and I accept the consequences. Scientists who study risk-takers include “people who start a business” in a category that includes mountain climbers, Navy SEALs and explorers. We aren’t adrenaline junkies, but we’re brave enough to risk everything we own to start a business that we think will serve our community and allow us to be our own boss.

I work seven days a week.

There is no such thing as a day off for a small business owner. Especially when the business is really small — i.e. just a few or no employees. If we want to take a day off or go on vacation, the business itself must temporarily close, and that can be more costly than we can afford.

My employees are my family.

There are an estimated 2.5 million true “family businesses” in the United States. That estimate includes all employing businesses that have two or more family members as owners, and two or more adult family members who actively participate as manager, employee, or as-needed volunteer.

As for the non-blood relatives who work for me? I’ll put it this way: I know the names of my employees’ spouses and kids. I care about their lives. It’s personal.

When money is tight, I get paid last; employee payroll comes first.

Don’t ever assume that a business owner is “rich.” You may be talking to someone who hasn’t cut herself a paycheck in months because that’s what has to be done to make sure employees get paid.

You call it ‘income;’ I call it ‘cash flow.’

Yes, small-business owners pay their taxes like individuals (versus like big corporations who get a lot of tax breaks), but there is a big difference between our business income and your paycheck. Our income feeds our families, yes, but it also needs to be managed carefully for those times when sales are slow, the economy is dragging, or to re-invest in the business and create new jobs.

My business is the future of my family

My business is my retirement and it is my legacy to my kids; I hope to pass it on to them.

I create about two-thirds of net new jobs, and more…

Historically, small firms create the lion’s share of net new jobs in the U.S. Collectively, they are responsible for almost half of the non-farm GDP and employ nearly half of the private-sector workforce. All of this means I should be more than just a talking point, but politicians can make me sound more like a message and less like the economic powerhouse that I am.

I’m an innovator.

According to the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, of high patenting firms (15 or more in a 4-year period), small businesses produce 16 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.

I’m a philanthropist.

In any given year, over ninety percent of small employers contribute to their community through volunteering, in-kind contributions, and/or direct cash donations. I give to the Little League, buy uniforms for the high school band and advertise in the yearbook every year.

I’m a good neighbor.

According to Gallup, only the U.S. military outranks small business when it comes to groups of people they trust (Congress, for example, is in last place on that list).

The cost of health insurance is crushing me.

Buying health insurance for myself and my employees has been difficult, literally, for decades. Obamacare promises to make the cost much, much higher. When I see premium quotes these days, I’m beyond saying “uncle!” and feeling more like saying “I quit!” Fortunately, it’s not in my nature to quit.

I love what I do and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Being my own boss, doing it the way I want to, providing jobs and contributing to my community…this the very definition of freedom, and it is the American dream.

Is it hard work? You bet it is. But I love it.

Once you get to know the people behind the small businesses in your community, you’ve taken the first step toward supporting these brave men and women.

Dan Danner is president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

Again, this is really well put by Dan. Let me know if you echo these sentiments, or if you can add any thoughts of your own, by leaving a comment below or emailing me at

Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing. And Happy Small Business Week!


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  1. Jim Wilkie says:

    SPOT ON! I love the fact that I get to work with (and support) local small businesses here around Greater Houston everyday. As a professional SBA lender, we help to make their dreams and hard work pay-off for the whole economy.

  2. Daniel Stevenson says:

    I have been a small business owner for 26 years. this is a very well written version of exactly what I would say.

  3. Dr Aubrey J Carlton says:

    people who start and run small business are adamant about the effort because they have been given a “vision”…an invention; an innovation; or some perception that is special. This “vision” may not be available to others. It is nonetheless a “real” thing, and the entrepreneur who has it is as sure as if it were already history. that is because it is a real thing…it is gift from God. And, like any other “issues of the heart of men” it is not ordinarily perceived…it must be by faith….and every small business person has it…some do not hold fast to it and convinced to give up….others ” stand on the vision” as on any old familiar “chair” that they know will sustain their weight when they sit down… is not “a roll of the dice”. It is not mystical, it is part of our make up. And real as the sunshine.

    with that vision comes the skill to navigate it. Easy is not in the equation. Luck is not part of the deal. It is by Faith, and that from God…It is does not matter whether the person in the business knows that. It is a gift…..

  4. Richard Lindsey says:

    I think he said it very well for all of us.

  5. Bo Burlingham says:

    I agree, Chris. A really fine statement. Great to see you in San Diego. Just wish we;d had more time to talk. Hope you are well.

  6. Susan Roberts says:

    My small business is going into year TWO and I am thrilled!! I have been in the corporate world all of my working career. What a blessing that was. I can now apply what I learned to my own business. Hopefully, not making mistakes they did.

  7. Margaret Mathis says:

    I agree I love been my own boss and I am not a quitter but my job depends on people going to work. I own a daycare the government takes care of people they give them free housing, food stamps, pays their utilities. People don’t have no nees to work all of their necessities of taking care of. And to say they have a man staying up in the free housing with them and he is working a job giving them money. Why do the women need to work? And another issue i have and I know to be true many people are getting disability and nothing is wrong with them they are on drugs or staying up drinking all night I wrote social security about some of the people are my family members. What the government should do is give the assistance for about 5 years and after that you are on your own. The program that pays people rent here is call Ga Rental Assistance people stays on this program until their kids get grown. We The People have got to take steps to get economy out of the houses and working

  8. Jack Connell says:

    I have been in business for 30 and I am 78 years old I am a 100% disable veteran its a long story but one of my neighbors and the DOR are putting me out of business I live on Cape Cod Ma the town of Harwich

  9. James Gasperowich says:

    All the hard work, 7 days a week, only to have our leader tell us, “you didn’t build that”.

  10. William Tiller says:

    I agree with most of the statement . But the part about O B care is out of line O B care will bring down the cost of medical care give it a fair shake and you will see Thank you for your blog.

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