It’s easy to get the impression these days that small business is on the decline in America. It seems that there are often news reports about small businesses that are killed off by big businesses.

Mom-and-pop stores, for example, forced to close after decades of operation, run out of business because of the construction of a new big-box store nearby. Or an independent eatery hurt by competition from the construction of a new nationally franchised store like Micky Ds.

But though it’s easy to get that impression these days, it’s only an impression. It’s not the truth. Because while there certainly are isolated instances of small businesses succumbing to competition with large businesses, on a national scale it’s a far different scenario.


The Survey Says…

A recent Gallup poll provides an indication of just how healthy small businesses are in America. If you consider small business and big business to be antagonists competing for the favorability of Americans, there’s a clear winner.

And it’s not even close.

According to the survey, more than two-thirds of Americans report having “quite a lot” of confidence in their dealings with small businesses. And the percentage of Americans that report the same amount of confidence in dealing with big business?

Only 21%.

And that’s an entrenched attitude; it’s nothing new. Gallup has been conducting this poll for decades. Small business has always received a favorable response. And big business has always received a negative response.

In fact, the highest favorable rating big business has ever received occurred 40 years ago. In 1975, big business received a 34% favorability rating. It’s been all downhill ever since.


It’s More Than Mere Perception

But what about the numbers?

While it’s wonderful for small business people to have the trust and confidence of America, how does that play out in real numbers? Quite well, as it turns out.

According to a recent report by Inc. Magazine, small businesses are faring quite well on a number of fronts. Some of the highlights include:

  • 7% of businesses that hire workers are small businesses
  • Half of the nation’s workforce is employed by small businesses
  • Small business accounts for about half of the Gross Domestic Product


And small business beats big business in another arena that’s often overlooked: innovation. In a recent 4-year period, small business filed far more patents per employee than big business (among firms that filed 15 or more patents).


The Big Boys Are Envious of You

If you’re the owner or operator of a small business, you have your trials and tribulations to deal with. All businesses do. And likely you’ve faced some pretty stiff competition at times from big businesses competing for your clientele.

But you have a gift, an astounding competitive advantage. It’s an advantage that big business can’t buy with all of their vast money and resources – though they’ve certainly tried. You have the trust and admiration of the American public. They want you to succeed. They’re rooting for you. And they want to do business with you.

The big guys can only dream of being so lucky.



Chris Delker is a freelance copywriter based in Dallas, Texas.