It might make sense to strike “small” as a descriptor for any business. National Public Radio (NPR) has been running a series on small business which has left me thoroughly confused as to what the definition of small business is. In her NPR segment “Small Businesses: Big Concerns and High Hopes” (9/24/13), Marilyn Geewax states,
“In reality, small firms overwhelmingly are made up of individuals working alone — they are freelance writers, lawn mowers, consultants and housecleaners. U.S. Census Bureau says 3 out of 4 firms have no payroll, and collectively, they account for only 3.4 percent of all business receipts. But while most of the nation’s roughly 28 million firms have no workers, about 6 million do hire, fire and pay people. Of those, roughly 5 million really are small, with nine or fewer workers. That leaves those approximately 1 million firms that hire at least 10 people, but not more than the 500 — keeping them within the Small Business Administration’s usual definition of ‘small’.”
However, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), a small business is one that is independently owned and operated, is managed for profit and does not dominate over the competition. The SBA also says that the maximum number of employees in a “small” business can vary from 500 – 1500 depending on the industry. The SBA’s definitions of “small” are important because they help determine which businesses are eligible to get special loans or loan guarantees. It can also determine who can bid on government contracts that are set aside for small business. The SBA’s work also helps inform other parts of the government that have programs aimed at small firms.
Take, for example, the new health care law. Employers with 50 or more full-time workers have to either provide health insurance or pay a penalty. Even 50 is not a standard measure across the federal government.
So if the government cannot agree on the definition, then why should I get hung up on it? Good question.
The HR Experts for Small Business
This Week’s HRI “Lightbulb” – Unemployment Levels
A robust unemployment level does not necessarily mean that finding good people will be easy when small businesses need to increase staff. In fact, finding the right employee may actually be getting harder! The Wall Street Journal headlines in its 2/14/12 edition, p. B9 that “Applicants Are Fewer, And Many Are Lacking”. There are now less applications per job posting, and, of those who do apply, more and more are not qualified (65%!, from a survey of 215 recruiters nationwide). What does this mean for small business? Plan early, and plan carefully. HRInsights recommends that small businesses structure a hiring process that reaches the potential applicant pool efficiently and that helps screen out unqualified candidates early. As the economy continues to pick up, make sure you have the best organization ready and in place to bank your share of business.
This Week’s HRI “Lightbulb” – 2011′s Top Cocktail Conversations
(ONLY SLIGHTLY MORE INTERESTING THAN SMALL BUSINESS HR)
10. Pen Removed from British Woman’s Stomach; Doctors Shocked to Discover that it Still Works after 25 Years of Gestation! (Possible Samsonite or Timex ad concept brewing here.)
9. Gluten-Free Diets. (Shake it off people, or eat at home.)
8. The Origin of the Stonehenge Rocks. (Researchers compared mineral content and textural relationships of the rhyolite debitage stones found at Stonehenge and were finally able to pinpoint the original location to within several meters of their source.)
7. The Ohio Amish Beard-Cutting Attacks. (Sequel due out in 2012).
6. Dominique Strauss-Kahn. (Remember him? Funny how half-baked tales lose media steam so quickly. Like air out of a balloon.)
5. Kim Kardashian’s Backside. (Or, Bruce Jenner’s face).
4. Casey Anthony. (On permanent vacation in Florida.)
3. Republican Debates. (Oh, heavens. I guess this means an election soon.)
2. Regis Philbin Resigns from “Live!”. (But, boy, do I hear more about him now!)
1. Lindsey Lohan’s Teeth. (Not the jail time; just her teeth.)