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November 1st: Torsten Jacobi, CEO of Creative Weblogging, joins host Anita Campbell. Sponsored by Six Disciplines. Show details.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Making a Big Fuss About Small Business
Via the Law and Entrepreneurship News, I found a link to this column entitled "What's the Big Fuss About Small Business?".

I note the column here not because I agree with it -- I do not. Emphatically not.

But because it reveals such a non-entrepreneurial thinking process. And it ignores the concept of the business ecosystem that our economy is based upon.

Among the comments I take issue with: calling entrepreneurship part of the "neo-conservative agenda of personal responsibility." As Brian of the Law and Entrepreneurship blog points out with dry wit, apparently the columnist is against personal responsibility.

At another point the columnist talks about how 17 million of the small businesses in the United States are self-employed. He then goes on to conclude that those small businesses provide zero jobs.

Zero jobs? Those 17 million entrepreneurs have employment in their own businesses. Yet the columnist blithely dismisses their self-employed income as if it doesn't matter. Try telling that to the IRS.

But the biggest flaw in the logic is the dismissive suggestion that, aside from selling them some loans and office supplies, small businesses don't much count in the economic picture.

Nothing could be further from reality.

A huge number of corporations consider small businesses to be a coveted market. This includes some of the world's largest multinational corporations. These corporations have divisions that are dedicated to creating products and services specifically for the small business market. Corporations from Cisco and Microsoft, to Verizon and ATT, to ZurichNA and State Farm, to Fortune magazine and GE, to Visa and MasterCard, to Dell and HP, to Fedex and UPS, to Google, Yahoo and eBay. It is small businesses buying products and services that helps create jobs at those corporations.

That doesn't even take into account the multitude of smaller businesses that count other small businesses among their prime customers. Businesses such as landlords, insurance agents, software vendors, attorneys, accountants, ad agencies, newspapers, web designers -- you name it.

The world needs small and large businesses both. The business landscape is an ecosystem, and every size company has its role to play. Small businesses are a crucial part of that business ecosystem, just as they are a crucial part of the economy.
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