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Amazing Facts about Small Businesses

Small businesses play an important role in creating jobs, sending products overseas and generating wealth for thousands of families. Here are nine amazing facts about small businesses in the United States from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy, which recently released updated information. The SBA defines small business as an independent business with less than 500 employees.

Nearly all are small. Virtually all U.S. firms are small businesses. Small businesses comprise 99.9 percent of all firms with paid employees. Out of 29.6 million businesses, all but 19,000 are small. (2014 data)

Exporters. Nearly all U.S. exporters are small businesses. Small exporters numbered 287,835 in 2015, representing 97.6 percent of all exporting firms, and they were responsible for $440 billion in exports (32.9 percent of total known export value).

Job generators. Small businesses generate three-fifths of net new jobs, driving a big share of U.S. employment growth. In total, small businesses employ 58 million, or 47.8 percent of all private-sector employees.

Family-owned. About one in five firms are family-owned. Industries that have the highest share of family-owned businesses are management of companies and enterprises (46.4 percent of firms in this industry are family-owned), real estate and rental and leasing (37.3 percent), and accommodation and food services (33.2 percent).

Home grown.
Half of firms are home-based. This share of businesses has remained fairly constant over the last decade. A home-based business may have business activities taking place outside the home, but it’s operated primarily out of the home. Nearly a quarter of small employer firms are home-based, while four of every five firms without paid employees are home-based.  Only 0.3 percent of large firms are home-based.

High-tech hiring. Nearly all employer firms (98.5 percent) in high-tech industries are small businesses.

Industrious immigrants. Immigrants make up about one-seventh, or 14.4 percent, of U.S. business owners with the greatest share of foreign-born owners in accommodation and food services (29.1 percent) and transportation and warehousing (27.5 percent).

Business owners more often use personal and family savings to finance expansions (21.9 percent of small firms), rather than use business loans from financial institutions (4.5 percent). Business profits and assets (5.7 percent) and business credit cards from banks (3.3 percent) are other popular sources of capital.

Survival rates. The one-year survival rate for businesses hit 79.9 percent in 2016—the highest share since 2006. About half of all establishments survive five years or longer, and only one-third survive 10 years or more.

The Soaring Cost of Climate Change

The scale of the threat posed by climate change and extreme weather can be seen from the following info-graphic. Last year, 797 weather-related disasters caused $129 billion of economic losses around the world, significantly higher than 2014’s $97 billion. Ten years ago, the number of extreme weather events came to 606, while the bill for damage was far less than it is today, just over $69 billion.

Generations in the Workplace

When chief financial officers were asked about generational differences in the workplace, communication skills, adapting to change and technical skills ranked high, according to Forbes. Here’s a closer look at the findings.

Communication skills.
Baby boomers and Millennials share different preferences when it comes to communication. Boomers tend to be more reserved, while Millennials prefer a collaborative approach.
Adapting to change. Millennials are more likely to embrace the new opportunities that change brings, while Boomers are expected to be jaded and cynical—less accepting of change in the workplace.

Technical skills. Boomers and Gen-x prefer learning via "traditional instructor-led courses or self-learning tools," while Millennials preferred "collaborative and technology-centric" vehicles.

2018 Employment Laws

New and expanded laws are in place, so it’s a good idea to have your human resource team up-to-date on the changes, so they know how to comply. Here’s a brief overview from Star Staffing, an employment agency headquartered in Petaluma, of the new major laws that may impact your business.

Small Business Parental/New Parent Leave.
Eligible employees can take 12 weeks of bonding leave for a child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. Leave must be taken within the first 12 months of birth or placement. Eligible employees must have worked for more than 12 months, or 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months. This law is applicable to companies with 20 to 49 employees.

Harassment Prevention.
Harassment prevention training is now required for employers with 50-plus employees. Workplace harassment must be discussed in addition to practical examples of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.

Prohibitions on Salary History.
Focused on wage parity, salary and benefits history can no longer be asked. In addition, employers must provide an applicant the pay scale of the position, upon reasonable request. (If you need assistance with pay scales, ask for a copy of Star Staffing’s Paybook to help determine the proper range for your opening.

Criminal Convictions and Background Checks. It’s now unlawful to inquire or consider history of a conviction before extending an offer of employment. Post-offer, if an employer opts to reject an applicant, certain steps must be taken. Individualized assessments to determine if job duties may relate to the conviction history, must be proved along with a written notification and an opportunity for the applicant to respond.

Minimum Wage.
The minimum wage is now $11 per hour; $10.50 for employers with 25 or fewer employees. (For a copy of the California minimum wage increase scale, go to Additionally, exempt employees must have a salary of $45,760, or $43,680 for employers with 25 or fewer employees. Make sure your company budget takes this into consideration this year, and in the years to come.



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