Greece and the worries of the European financiers dominate the news headlines these days. To be sure, the problems are serious for many nations, including the United States.
But something else is equally certain: While anxious bankers and many world leaders are pacing, there are small businesses that can’t get into motion fast enough. They see opportunity in the need for change. They are collecting needed funds from family members, from under couch cushions, from credit cards and from convinced neighbors.
Opportunity time is now
For small business, this instant is always a time of opportunity. That spirit is our own country’s best hope for creating millions of new jobs. Financial watchers tell us that big companies are hoarding reserves of cash. As for hiring, they are more likely to shed employees than create new businesses needing them.
That is not the case with small business. Small businesses are a restless lot. By and large, a small business with a dollar in a reserve fund is thinking about 15 ways to make that dollar put legs under the ideas that are ready to take form.
Anyone who has competed against a small business for work has had to overcome the advantage of a small business’s lean cost structure. Small business owners know the rhythms of their businesses at close range. Miracles come from grit. Few can turn to legislators and government officials for actions that will soften a tax climate or mandate use of a product line.
Rarely is an opportunity an ordinary one. Prove its worth in a new realm of activity and the small business can progress to the next category, and the next. The company can grow.
Opening doors to new capabilities
So can the country. When the doors of a small business open, they open on a place that is endlessly plotting the addition of new capabilities. Often, the plans hinge on the ability to employ people. The numbers may be small at first: Just one or two significant people whose talents will bring into being something that will require many additional workers as the company becomes established in a new service.
Carol Roth, writing for the Huffington Post, mused after President Barack Obama’s Congressional address that the 14 million jobless could become employed if half the country’s small businesses were able to hire one person. Looking in that direction for the solution seems wise.
There’s another powerful reason for small businesses to act as the U.S. economy’s game-changer. They don’t want to be small businesses at all. They want to be the next generation of big businesses.
John Byrne is vice president/chief operating officer of Byrne Transportation Services LLC in Warrenville, Ill. He is vice-chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association’s small business division.