In 2002, there were approximately 23 million small businesses in the United States according to the US SBA (Small Business Administration). Small businesses have now come to play a vital role in the US economy creating over two-thirds of new private sector jobs. Small businesses also employ more than half of all workers and account for more than half of the output of the economy. In fact small businesses represent more than 99.7 percent of all employers, pay 44.5 percent of the total US private payroll and generate 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually.
The SBA defines a small business as an independent business having fewer than 500 employees. However this is standard varies from industry to industry and firms who wish to be designated as a small business must meet standards specified by the SBA Office of Size Standards.
When most people think of small businesses the first thing that comes to mind is a small firm with few employees. However this perception of a small business is completely wrong. Many small businesses are actually quite large with a number of employees working in different administrative, clerical and executive positions. Small businesses range from an import/export company to a web designing firm to an online merchant account.
Small business administration jobs
Small businesses offer many types and forms of jobs from administrative posts to entry level positions. Working in a small business can be a great advantage as it:
* Offers frequent contact with top and higher level management.
* Gives employees a greater sense of personal involvement.
* Leads to broader work experience.
* Provides better opportunities for on the job learning.
* Provides jobs more tailor made to persons talents.
* Provides faster promotion and personal growth opportunities.
Some small business administrative jobs include:
* Data Entry Clerks
Data Entry Clerks are sometimes called database administrators as well. They play a key position in a small business organization and are primarily responsible for updating, maintaining and retrieving information especially in computer systems. They also transfer paper-based records and information into a spreadsheet or database. The basic work of a data entry clerk involves entering details of new clients; maintaining a client database, transferring paper-based results to a computer; and so on. Data entry clerks are employed in sales and marketing organizations, banking firms, medical organizations and educational institutions.
Receptionists mainly deal with members of the public, who could be prospective or current clients, or visitors of a small business. Their main job entails providing front desk customer support with answers to queries, and directing visitors/clients to the person they need to see. Receptionists also organize appointments and take bookings as well as keep the reception area tidy, organize reading material and provide refreshments. In smaller firms with not many clientele receptionists also perform a wider range of tasks such as answering the switchboard, take messages, dealing with telephone enquiries, and doing some basic clerical work. They may also handle petty cash and do simple bookkeeping.
* Secretaries/Administrative Assistants
Secretaries are sometimes known as administrative assistants especially in small businesses where their job descriptions overlap one another. They provide administrative support to one or more people in an organization. Though their duties and responsibilities vary according to an employer, their main duties include: using word processors, spreadsheets and databases, answering the telephone, dealing with public enquiries, making appointments and keeping diaries, preparing and distributing papers, documents and files for meetings as well as taking minutes of a meeting, dealing with all incoming and outgoing mail, drafting letters and other essential documents, transcribing important confidential information and maintaining a filing system for the entire office or department. Well-qualified secretaries, can compile accounts, control budgets and present reports.
* Executive Assistants
Executive Assistants usually provide direct support to the Chief Executive of a company and executive staff members. They ensure that CEO remains organized and informed at all times. An executive assistant handles confidential company information as well as manages executive calendars and complex travel arrangements. They interact with high profile clients and corporate executives and co-ordinate company meetings and events.
* Other essential duties and responsibilities include:
o Providing executive administrative assistance to CEOs and executive staff.
o Managing, arranging and scheduling meetings, conference calls and web conferences, as well as making business travel arrangements.
o Composing memos and office correspondence as well as proofreading all forms of communication, and maintaining confidential documents.
o Composes and assists with presentation materials.
o Creates and maintains database spreadsheet files and reports.
o Maintains and creates Confidential Disclosure Agreements.
o Provides investor relations support; distributing press releases and coordinates and compiles literature for meetings and conferences.
* Operations Manager
An operations manager is involved in the day to day management of a small business, when the CEO or GM is not available. Their key responsibilities include; supervisory duties of the entire office staff, maintaining personnel records and confidential files, supervising daily office business when the CEO is unavailable, and so forth. Operations managers are also involved in purchasing, hiring, training and quality control in a company. Their job description varies with each industry; however they work in close contact with the CEO or GM of a company and are usually involved in work policy formulation, salary issues, and manage the day-to-day activities necessary to operate an effective business.
I had wanted to write on this for quite sometime now, but all the same, i know it is never late to do so. One thing about being an entrepreneur is that you tend to get all manner of people coming to you either as customers, business associates, employees, family members, friends or investors.
Quite often i do hear this from them "i want to build a big business" or "i want to be rich." While i am not against tall ambitions since i am also an ambitious person, i am against big dreams without the willingness to pay the necessary price.
Most entrepreneurs dream of being the next Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Sam Walton but they don't seem to know the price these men paid to get to the level they are.
This is the main reason i have a column on my website titled "Lessons from successful entrepreneurs." I purposely introduced the column to enable aspiring entrepreneurs see what it took these entrepreneurs to get to where they are now and to also enable them learn from the mistakes of these successful entrepreneurs.
It is ok to dream big, but the real fact is; are you prepared to pay the price? If you are, then you must be ready to start small. Most young entrepreneurs hate starting a small business. They assemble their business plan, make all necessary arrangements and then wait for an investor that will provide the $1,000,000 capital.
The hard truth is that the million dollar investor might never come and even if they do, they will not invest with you because you lack the necessary business skills and confidence to run a business and grow their money.
So what is the way out? My suggestion to young entrepreneurs who come to me with ideas and business opportunities is this; go and start small or get involved with the process of starting a small business.
I usually advice entrepreneurs who are young in the business world to start a small business based on the following reasons:
1. Most of these young entrepreneurs have no business experience. They have not been confronted by business challenges. But when you start small, you will gain experience and improve your business skills.
2. If you start a small business, you will faced by the initial start up challenges of finding new customers and managing the business system as a whole. Now the truth is; if you can handle these challenges, then you are preparing yourself to handle the challenges of building a big business.
3. In business, there are unforeseen challenges. If an entrepreneur should bend low and go through the process of starting a small business, he or she will come to realize that there is more to building a business than just finding customers.
4. If you are able to start small and grow at a rate of maybe 35 - 45% per annum, investors’ confidence in you will be boosted. The investors will come to reason that since you have gotten to the level you are, a little support will make a big difference. The truth is if you can confidently handle a small business and grow at a steady rate, then you can handle a big business.
With these few reasons of mine, i believe you are now beginning to realize the magic behind starting a small business.
In conclusion, my final advice is this. Even if you take the risk and go through the process of starting a small business, don't get infected with the small business syndrome.
I have seen entrepreneurs start and build small successful businesses but they refuse to go beyond the small business level. They have gotten contented with the small business level. So for you who intend starting small, don't make the same mistake.
At this point, i draw the curtain. God bless you.
Small business owners continue to be impacted by the greed of Wall Street and large banks. Over the past few months,small business owners have struggled to obtain their small business loans and financing. Small business transactions have come to complete halt. As the top US banks have received TARP funding and Wall Street has rallied to over 10,000 small business owners continue to struggle. Financing for small business owners is harder than ever, with terms that are simply unreasonable for most. As banks and hedge funds, such as Goldman Sachs and others, have seen record profits and boost to stock values, your local business is systematically punished by the lack of policy on part of the law makers and reduction of funding from banks.
Seventy percent of Americans work for small business owners. They form the backbone of the US economy. That is the reason why Bizcloud was created. At the same time 22 of the biggest banks that have been the beneficiary of TARP have reduced small business loans by over 8 Billion dollars. Small Business Administration has been ineffective in championing the needs of US business owners and entrepreneurs. The fifteen billion dollars allocated for small business loans is still caught in Washington and banking red tape, and very little if any has been provided to small business owners.
President Obama will be announcing new effort to stimulate small business and entrepreneurship. He is also headed to Japan next month to discuss various geopolitical issues. We hope that the President takes time to meet with Japanese finance minister and discuss the current global economic meltdown. Valuable lessons can be learned from the Financial Services Agency of Japan on how to support small business owners in this country.
Japanese Financial Services Agency has recently stated that it would ask banks and other lenders to ease repayment terms, such as extending repayment deadlines, for smaller and medium size companies as part of emergency legislation for up to three years.
A similar approach can also help United States small business owners. United States law makers and current administration should consider a similar model. The small business community is asking for a three year freeze of loan interest and principle payments for 261 billion dollars of current small business loan portfolio by the banks. Considering the financial guarantees of payments provided to Financial Services companies by the United States tax payers, having guarantees provided to small business owners to protect them from the unchecked capitalistic greed of Wall Street bankers would be a huge boost to the US economy.
The cost for this program can be paid for by a three year surcharge tax on large corporate conglomerates, such as Wall Mart, Starbucks, and other mass retailers that operate over 100 corporate owned stores across the nation, and constantly siphon local community profits to Wall Street bankers and hedge funds. These mass corporate retailers and large financial institutions’ policies and unfair business practices have caused the death of small business ownership and entrepreneurship in America.
A simple 10% excise tax on large corporate stores and conglomerates of 100 locations or more can produce billions of dollars in revenue for Federal, State and Local Governments. It would additionally provide a level playing field for small business owners that do not get the special zoning rights, incentives, group health insurance discounts or the purchasing power from Chinese manufactures, and enable them to compete in the local economy.
Unless drastic measures are taken by the current administration, this holiday season will be a very grim one for small business owners. Minister Shizuka Kamei’s proposal for freezing loan repayments by small and medium-size companies battered by credit crunches amid the global economic slowdown is the right step to help sustain small business life in Japan and identical measures are needed in the US.
Every business is created with the intention of making money and filling a demand that exists in the marketplace it serves. As more individuals make a move to the privately owned companies an increase in small business competition has become noticeable. In addition to the increased creation of these businesses the internet has empowered all of these small businesses with the opportunity to compete in the global market.
Many established businesses are starting to struggle as more businesses jump into the competitive markets of the small business. Businesses are now looking for the most up to date methods to prevent their business from becoming the next market failure. Small business coaching is an answer that over 58 percent of small and medium companies are utilizing.
When a person starts a small business, overtime many issues are disregarded as a result of the daily stresses associated with managing their business. In a tornado of present expenses hardly being met by the proceeds from the sale of merchandise or services, the big picture is often missing. In addition to financial woes many business owners have to deal with the drama of a company staff or of the various customers who have their own issues. This reduction of the big picture plan can result in a slowing of productivity as a response to focusing on the small issues that hold little power in the ultimate goals of a new company. Small business coaching can help to refocus an owner back towards their overall business goals and assist in managing the small issues that have drug an owner away from the big business picture.
When you enlist the services of a small business coach they have a list of items they will view as essential in completing for your company. The primary objective on that list is to establish a clear direction you desire your company to travel. They will assess this by first speaking to the business owner to achieve an understanding of what the business owner intended on creating when starting their own business. When a clear image is created the small business coach will make an assessment of the current condition of your business. Business coaches do this in an effort to see how far your business has strayed from the original plan the owner created. Once this assessment is complete the small business coach will design various plans on how to return a business onto its desired track and how to excel on this track in the future. The small business coach represents an outside view of a situation that a business owner may be too deep in to see the various aspects of their business situation.
By evaluating the viewpoints of the business coaches evaluation, a business owner can then get a vision of their business that they may not have recognized before. The small business coach offers new perspectives on an old idea and ultimately helps a business advance so that they do not share the same fate of those who fell before them.