Small but Mighty: Celebrating Small Businesses
You know we love those lists.
Here’s one: Things that are small, but incredibly important:
White blood cells: These little beauties protect your body by fighting off nasty diseases and germs, all without you realizing it, making them the world’s tiniest ninjas.
Gemstones: Ladies will argue that these should never be small, but for how they are valued, precious stones don’t carry a lot of physical weight. The most expensive diamond ring is just that – small enough to be a ring – yet it’s worth $57.5 million. Try not to choke while processing that.
The ball in a ballpoint pen: Thanks to a frustrated Hungarian newspaper editor who was fed up with the time he wasted filling up fountain pens (this was pre-Facebook and YouTube, before we actually loved wasting time), we now have a pen that allows us to write without pause.
A thumb: If you ever doubt the usefulness of our most important digit, try going through a single day with both of your thumbs wrapped flat to your hands – we’d bet our last dollar you wouldn’t get far. Without a fully opposable thumb, we might all still be hunting and gathering; after it evolved to be part of the human hand, it helped our ancient ancestors make and use tools.
Computer chips: According to something called Moore’s Law, which basically states that the technology behind computers doubles every two years, computers have gone from being the size of a room to something that fits in a smartphone or smart watch. The fact that smaller computer chips are becoming more powerful means you can carry a computer in your pocket – imagine telling that to someone even just 30 years ago.
Atoms: For those of you who need to brush up on your “Schoolhouse Rock,” these are the basic units of matter and make up everything in the entire world. They also make up atomic bombs. So there’s that.
Safety pins: Countless lives have been saved after the invention of the safety pin. Wait, what? OK, how about … countless fingers have been saved from pinhole wounds. Whatever. (Fun fact: The guy who invented the safety pin was a real titan of innovation – he also invented a forerunner of the Winchester repeating rifle, a successful flax spinner, a knife sharpener, a fountain pen, a rope-making machine, a streetcar bell, hard-coal-burning stove, artificial stone, street sweeping machinery, the velocipede, and the ice plough. Feel free to hang this over your kids’ heads next time they say they’re bored.)
The One Ring from “The Lord of the Rings”: Peter Jackson made almost an entire day’s worth of movies out of this single piece of jewelry. Other skills: starts wars; makes the wearer invisible and grants long life; turns hobbits into Gollum and beautiful elf queens into scary witches; rules them all.
The pin on a grenade: We’re pretty sure you know why this is big deal.
Small businesses: Here’s our real point: Small businesses may be just that – small – but they are incredibly vital to the economy and to their customers. There are almost 28 million small businesses in the United States, and more than 50 percent of the working population is employed by one.
Small businesses – including those with fleets – power our nation by providing jobs on a local level (generating 65 percent of the net new jobs since 1995). They also provide critical services to customers – services that sometimes you just can’t get with a “big box” business, but even if you can, you won’t get the same level of customer service, attention to detail, and pride in the work that you’ll get by going with the little guy.
And if you own or work for a small business, you should be proud – because businesses like yours are what make our country a great one.
Small Business Saturday is coming up in November – and while it’s officially an American Express event to promote holiday shopping, any small business can jump on the bandwagon by offering special deals that weekend, or creating advertising and marketing materials that encourage customers to shop small.
This doesn’t even need to be only during November – people like to shop at small businesses and feel like they are supporting the local economy. Businesses can cite statistics like this one: If you spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays in the local economy, versus only $43 if you spend the same amount at a large business. And check out the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website for tons of facts and tips.
And for small businesses that have big plans to cut costs, get more done and make customers happier, consider investing in GPS fleet tracking software and field service management software.
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