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September 17, 2020
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October 2, 2020
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In Praise of Small Business

Powering the National Economy

Here at the tail end of National Small Business Week, we proudly honor the existence and the work of all small businesses across the country.

Riding Economic Ups & Downs

By the U.S. definition: small business is a firm that has fewer than 500 employees. (In the European Union: fewer than 50. In Australia: fewer than 15.) Nationally, businesses with fewer than 100 employees make up 98.2% of the workforce. Companies with fewer than 20 employees: 89% of all businesses. Collectively, the small business cohort creates 1.5 million jobs each year. NATCO is honored to be part of that strength in (fewer) numbers.

Yes, we’re pulling these statistics of the “before times,” pre-pandemic. One day, COVID will end. In the meantime, the pandemic has taken a huge toll. In May of this year, some 31% of small businesses were not operating. Recovery and return to operations have been spotty or abandoned. With the election weeks away, a second round of federal assistance is stalled in congress.

According to FSR, “Sixty percent of restaurants don’t make it past their first year and 80 percent go out of business within five years.” It’s an odd twist on supply-and-demand. CB Insights estimates that 42% of small businesses shut down due to lack of market demand. Troubling statistics, though not the end of the world.

In our experience, what usually happens is that another restaurant will open in the same location. The restaurant industry, along with a large portion of small business in general, seems to ebb and flow in cycles. We’re definitely in the ebb portion of that cycle.

Except when we’re not: As we’ve spotlighted before, businesses often repurpose their operations to adapt to the situation. That’s why we’ve seen an Italian restaurant transform itself into a fresh vegetable and pasta sidewalk grocery store, or why Ford repurposes a production plant to create ventilators, or why 3M restructured toward producing a billion masks by the end of the year.

Again, we give thanks to the nation’s truck drivers⏤many of them small-business owners themselves⏤who have braved the situation in order to keep your grocery shelves filled, your home and company essentials supplied, and your gas tanks filled. At the end of the day, and in the morning, and through the night, that entrepreneurial spirit sends us on a path toward balance.