Did you even know that was a thing? Until a couple weeks ago, I didn't - even though Tiffany and I have been the proverbial "mom and pop" business owners for almost ten years (does it matter if we're only a "mom" and a "pop" to two dogs and a hermit crab?).
Here are a few other things that you might not know:
- 90% of businesses in America are family-owned.
- Family businesses are nearly twice as likely as corporations to have women leaders and executives.
- Nearly 78% of new jobs created are by family businesses.
- Family businesses account for around 64% of our gross domestic product (about $10.73 trillion).
- On average, a family business will donate about $50,000 per year to non-profit and charitable organizations.
- Only 12% of family businesses persist beyond two generations.
What can we learn about all this? Well, for starters, if you want to get a job, you're probably going to get one from a small, family owned business. In fact, during my ten years as a professional graphic designer and web developer, I only ever worked for one corporate entity that wasn't family owned. Whether it was a coffee shop, a tourist attraction, a video production studio, a radio station, a marketing firm, or a shipping company, I have worked almost exclusively for small, local, family-owned businesses.
We also learn that family businesses are vitally important to the American economy. 64% is an absolutely enormous segment of our national GDP. If all the family-owned businesses closed their doors, it would be an understatement to say that they would be missed.
And finally, what I found most interesting from these statistics is that most family-owned businesses don't get passed down to future generations. Only 30% get passed down to the founders' children. Only half of that amount get passed down beyond that. That means that it is vitally important that we continue to create new businesses and support the ones that already exist. Without small, family-owned businesses we don't have the country and culture that we have today.
When Tiffany and I decided to create Everyday Eclectic way back in late 2007, we really didn't think of ourselves as "small business owners" or even as "entrepreneurs" per se. We just wanted to see if we could make some money on the side doing something that we loved. Ten years (and a few businesses later), we have learned that we are, in fact, a part of a new batch of entrepreneurs who are helping to shape the future of this country. We may not be innovators in the realm of technology, but we have been blessed to see the resurgence of national pride surrounding quality, handcrafted, American-made goods.
So here's to all of our fellow Makers, Doers, Family Business Owners, and all of the Moms and Pops out there trying to build something great in this wonderful country of ours. Let's continue lifting each other up, encouraging new innovation, and striving to build something that we can be proud of and which will stand the test of time.
And for those of you who aren't small business owners, what can you do to help make a difference? Well, there is probably a locally owned alternative to many of the goods and services that you rely on daily. Skip the cheap margaritas and faux Latin food at Chili's and try the local (and much more authentic) taco stand down the street. Instead of buying produce that has been trucked (or flown) in, head to your local farmer's market, or just stop at a road-side stand for some fresh tomatoes. Instead of running straight to Walmart when you need some new pants, why not head to the local resale shop and see if they have something one-of-a-kind for half the price and twice the quality?
You get the picture. Whether you need some new (or used) tires, a web site, some brochures or business cards printed, or a cake decorated, just take a look around at what local, family-owned options exist. You may be surprised at what's headquartered right down the road in your very own town.