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Small Business FAQs

We’ve put together some small business FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) but if we’ve missed something out that you’d like to know why not drop us an email and we will do our best to add it to this list of FAQs.

What is a small business?

A small business as an independent business with fewer than 500 employees. Sometimes they are also referred to as Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and increasingly the term micro-business is used for enterprises with fewer than 6 employees.

How many small businesses are there in the U.S.?

The most recent data shows that there were just over 30 million small businesses. However, more than 24 million of those had no employees meaning they are, in effect, sole proprietorships. The number of small businesses has increased since the recession ended.

What part do small businesses play in the economy?

Here are some facts:
– 99.9% of all companies are small businesses
– 99.7% of all companies with paid employees are small businesses
– Almost 33% of US export value comes from small businesses
– 59 million people are employed in small businesses

What percentage of new jobs do small businesses create?

8.4 million new jobs were created during this century which is equivalent to over 65 percent of all jobs created in the US in that period.

How many new businesses survive for more than 1 year?

On average almost 80% of new enterprises survive the first year but only 50% survive for 5 years or more, and only 33% for 10 years or more. Obviously, there are variations on these average rates depending on the state of the wider economy at the time the businesses started and traded.

Approximately how many small businesses start up and close each year?

For the past decade, fairly consistently, around 8% of all SMEs have been startups i.e. companies less than a year old and the number of businesses closing down is slightly less than that.

How many SMEs do women own?

Almost 10 million small businesses in the States are owned by women and 2.5 million are owned equally by men and women

Do millennials typically start up their own businesses?

Millennials are less likely to start their own companies than older people and the number that do is in decline.

What proportion of small businesses are family-owned?

Approximately 19 percent of small companies are family-owned and these are equally divided between a single owner and joint ownership.

What percentage of small businesses are home-based?

The proportion of small businesses that are home-based has remained fairly steady over the past 10 years at approximately half of all small companies. The sectors in which businesses are most likely to be home-based are IT, construction and professional services

How are small businesses usually financed?

Most small businesses are started up with owners’ savings with less than 5 percent using business loans.

Data Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics

US Census Bureau

ITA International Trade Administration

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