What would you say if I told you that there were people in Ohio that were spending hours upon hours studying you? They want to know what you eat, what you drive, where you work, what your hobbies are, how large your family is, and even what kind of underwear you have. Sound creepy yet? I’m not talking about some crazy stalker who waits in the bushes or somebody wishing your harm. On the contrary, these people are spending hours upon hours each week and risking their finances to contribute to your happiness. They are the brave and few souls known as entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs make it their business, literally, to determine how best to serve you, your family, your friends, and your employer. An entrepreneur is a creature that can only survive by caring about what you want. Think about it. Pretend that I am an entrepreneur who owns a pizza shop. I personally hate pepperoni so I decide not to serve it to my customers. How long will I be in business if I continue this way? Not very long because all my potential clients will go to other pizza places that will serve pepperoni. As an entrepreneur, I must identify what you want and I must provide it. Entrepreneurs spend enormous amounts of money to find out more about what the preferences of their consumers are so that they can provide them with those preferences.
You may be thinking to yourself that an entrepreneur is only in business to make money though. Therefore, they are not selfless in their supposed quest for my happiness or comfort. First, I would say that we are all in need of money to some extent in order to survive. I don’t think that it is too unreasonable for a person providing a good or service to ask for money in exchange and I think you would agree with that and expect the same for yourself. Second, I would point out the fact that money is simply the byproduct of an entrepreneur’s selflessness. They make money only because they sell products or services. They only sell products and services because people are willing to buy them. People are only willing to buy something that meets their needs, specifications, or requirements. Thus, the money an entrepreneur makes is only due to their willingness and efforts to identify and provide what consumers want.
So why am I talking about these entrepreneurs? Why do you care? Good for them that they are selfless but so what, right? You may care because small businesses are responsible for 99.6% of all businesses in Ohio for 2017. This number is actually up slightly from 97.9% in 2016. Small business is defined by the Small Business Association as a private business employing no more than 500 employees. The latest statistics show that Ohio small businesses account for 46% of its private work force which is over 2 million people. Over half of those employed by small businesses are employed by small businesses that are composed of fewer than 100 employees which accounts for approximately 1.5 million employees.
The definition of an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. In the latest statistics of 2014 small businesses took out loans from banking institutions in Ohio for the combined amount of $2.3 billion. This means that not only are entrepreneurs creating jobs but they are investing in Ohio. This is money for expansions which create secondary effects by calling for contractors to build and service the expansion. This money is used for buying out other competitors which often times allows the employees of the acquired business to remain employed. This money may go for buying equipment, company vehicles, real estate, and the list goes on with the purchase of goods or services that in turn allow other people to have jobs.
This breed of businessmen in Ohio is not just some small town, low key, meek and mild creature, I might add. They operate internationally as well as globally.
Entrepreneurs owning small businesses were responsible for 23.7% of Ohio’s $46.7 billion in total known exports according to the International Trade Association. They think large and they are able to execute their ideas. Keep in mind that an entrepreneur may often times learn as they go because they don’t know of anybody to ask their questions or concerns to once they get to a certain level. Meaning, somebody might be able to give them sound advice when they are working out of their basement at home. Fewer people, however, would be capable of advising them on how to ship their product globally, market to those countries, and account for the embargo or import/export taxes as well as the currency rate exchange. These are brave souls who risk a lot to provide other people with what they want most.
Lastly, you may think to yourself that you know or work for an entrepreneur who is most certainly not selfless. He or she treats their employees badly and seems to think it is always the customer’s fault. There will always be these people in any community of people. In the community of Ohio entrepreneurs I would call these selfish folks the outliers. The beauty of capitalism and free market for entrepreneurs in America is that it cares about the market even if you don’t. The one thing it cares about is money and if you don’t have enough of it then you will go out of business. In the second quarter of 2015 there were 5,299 small businesses started which created 23,315 new jobs in Ohio. These startups are counted when at least one employee is hired for the first time. In that same period of time 5,223 exited the market resulting in 18,195 jobs lost in Ohio and an exit occurs when businesses go from having at least one employee to having none and remain closed for at least one year. That is not to say that all of these who went out of business were selfish people or failures. These numbers could compose of successful mergers or buyouts, retirements, shifts in the market, shifts in the economy, and other factors. Undoubtedly though there were some bad apples in this bunch. The kind that couldn’t keep employees because they paid too little or offered fewer benefits and had to do so due to lack of concern for their customer’s needs.
In the end it is important that we support our small businesses. If you are a small business owner yourself try to do business with other small businesses. They say that the average sphere of influence that an individual person has is approximately 350 people. That means that if you interact with one person your actions could potentially be echoing to 350 more. So it may cost you $20 more to do business with a small business rather than a larger business but how much will it cost you in possible referral business? I doubt that Staples or Wal-Mart will introduce you to potential clients like Gary, John, or whoever else may own a similar business in your area would. If you are a consumer try to buy local. I know that Amazon is great because they bring it to your door. I get the fact that larger companies order in larger quantities and therefore can give you a product at a lower cost. That cost, however, is often negligent and puts money into pockets of people you will likely never meet. Instead, put your money in to the pockets of people from your community so they will reinvest it right back in to your community. Who are these entrepreneurs? They are the person you go to church with. They are the person you see at the gym. They are the person setting next to you at the bar. They are the selfless few who rely on the deserving many for their success and existence.