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  • What's A Micro Business?

    June 19, 2024

    What's A Micro Business?

    Dear Good Reader,

    Small Business Week was way back in May. I’ve been sitting on this blog and video for nearly two months. It’s a perfect example of a solo-entrepreneur wearing lots of hats — and possibly spread a little too thin.

    As many of you have been a part of our adventure since our early days, I thought it would be interesting to chat about small business. And, the timing seems right because I personally know 5 woman-owned businesses that closed their doors this year. On the other hand, I know at least 5 that just celebrated grand openings. 

    First, I love being a business owner. If any of you have dreams of bringing a product or a service or an idea to life and you’re not afraid of long hours, I say DO IT! (And… I’m happy to lend support, chat with you about it, and offer up my wins and fails to help you. Reach out.)

    Every step, leap, and bump along the way has fed my soul. Knowing we’re making a difference (no matter how small) to help you in your journey to live a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. Every day we receive comments and notes of encouragement from customers cheering us on. We have donated thousands of dollars to non-profits doing good work to help people, animals, and planet. We have forged long-term relationships and many friendships with our vendors and our local community. I have the privilege of employing 6 talented, hard-working women whom I call friends. Owning What’s Good has given me self-fulfillment like no other job has.

    But it wouldn’t be truthful for me to say it’s easy or fun all the time. In fact, it’s often hard. Especially for small businesses like mine.

    Early on I discovered that that What's Good (and many like us) are not actually even considered a small business. What’s Good is a micro business. Perhaps we split hairs here, but to me, it’s important to differentiate.   

    According to the Small Business Administration, a small business has over 10 employees, but fewer than 500 employees and less than $41.5 million in average annual receipts. (Note: Depending on where you search on the internet and recent data, revenue can reach $500 million.)

    As of 2021, small businesses accounted for 99.9% of all U.S. businesses, employing 61.7 million people, which is 46.8% of the private workforce.

    On the other hand, a micro business is defined as having fewer than 10 employees and with revenue under 1 million dollars.

    What I find mind blowing is that 78% of small businesses are micro businesses. That means 78% of all small businesses in the USA have under 10 employees.

    While all small businesses play a crucial role in the economy, contributing to job creation, innovation, and economic diversity, micro businesses are crucial to the economy. Micro businesses are the backbone of local communities, providing essential services and creating employment opportunities. Join your local merchant’s association and you’ll meet the vertebrae of this backbone — hard-working, earnest, community-focused people like you and me, trying to make a living and do good.

    And yet… micro businesses have limited resources, both in terms of capital and operational capacity. They often rely on personal or small business loans, and their marketing and operational reach are typically more constrained compared to small businesses. Said another way, 78% of micro businesses have limited resources.

    I’m sharing this with you because even though I have always chosen local and non-franchised businesses over big chain stores, I just didn’t realize just how much support they needed until I joined the “club.” Your patronage of these micro businesses (including What’s Good) is your opportunity to do good, to vote with your dollars, and to keep these businesses and their employees (and their families) secure. Especially now in today’s economy. Sure, Jeff Bezos and his employees need to eat too. I get it. And Walmart employs a bunch of people. I’m simply suggesting that when and where you have choices, please also consider the little guy or gal. I’m talking about the hardware store down the street, the little corner grocer, the village diner or strip mall restaurant, the independent gym, and the list goes on.

    Now, let’s add to that mix female-owned businesses. Why? Because minority and/or woman-owned micro businesses face even more challenges starting and growing their businesses. Even though it’s 2024.

    One of the primary challenges for women-owned micro businesses is accessing capital. Women entrepreneurs often face difficulties securing funding from banks and investors. Consider these stats:

    The Small Business Association reports that 43% of small businesses are woman owned.

    The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) President and CEO Jen Earle adds, “The vast majority of women-owned businesses are ‘micro-businesses.”

    The National Association of Woman Owned Small Businesses says only 2.4% of venture capital goes to female owned businesses; the average business loan is 50% less than their male counterparts; and not surprisingly, most women rely on their personal savings and credit cards to fund their businesses.

    It's astonishing really, because women-owned businesses pack a powerful economic footprint, generating $2.7 trillion in annual revenue and employing almost 12.2 million people.

    In case you’re wondering, What’s Good is a woman-owned, micro business, and I can attest that it is challenging to raise the capital we need to fulfill our vision. So we take it slow, and grow organically… millimeter by millimeter. (Yes, this is why we don't yet have ALL the products we would love to offer you and often have items sold out.)

    Female owned businesses suffered the most losses, slumps, and closings during the covid pandemic. When you think about all the dollars that poured into bigger small businesses with hundreds of employees… know that money did not make it to the little gals. The good news is that women are back, in fact representing the largest growth in micro businesses since the pandemic. While I know a few that recently closed their doors or have asked for help, I also know many who are giving it a go, bringing great products and services to the market, employing members of your community, and participating in making your town or city a better place for all.

    There are lots of ways to support a micro biz, even if your budget is tight:

    Follow on Social Media — Most have at least one social media platform such as Instagram. Follow, like, comment, and share! And create your own post about your favorites. 

    Write ReviewsFacebook and Google come to mind. Remember, the difference between success and failure can be in the stars. Be kind. 

    Refer-A-Friend — Your referrals go a long way. People listen to you. Gift cards and certificates are a great way to spread the word!

    Be Patient — Remember how I mentioned 78% of businesses are micro businesses with less than 10 employees... and most have just 1-3, this means their team is likely wearing lots of hats and do more in a day than the CEO of Starbucks. 

    On behalf of all the micros, thank you for all the support. 

    ~ Jennifer


    We all feel good shopping on Small Business Saturday that one time per year; I implore you to make shopping at woman-owned or minority owned, micro business a regular habit — not just one day a year — because they need your support.

    And just a quick note on this SBS: I will bet anyone good money that a woman did NOT come up with Small Business Saturday. Why? Because most women still do the lion share of Thanksgiving prep and clean up, hosting family members, juggling the kids home on break… any woman that owns a business would not have invented this well-meaning business boost the Saturday after Thanksgiving.


    Notice that cute sweatshirt I'm wearing in the video? I bought it from ClothNMortar, a woman-owned micro biz.  



    U.S. Small Business Administration. (n.d.). What is a Small Business?

    U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy. (2021). 2021 Small Business Profile

    U.S. Census Bureau. (2020). 2019 Annual Business Survey

    American Express. (2019). State of Women-Owned Businesses Report

    National Women's Business Council. (2020). Access to Capital for Women Entrepreneurs: Strengthening Access to Capital for Women Business Owners

    SCORE. (2021). The Megaphone of Main Street: Women's Entrepreneurship

    Forbes. (2023). The Economic Impact Of Women-Owned Businesses

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