It’s National Small Business Week and the Tucson Metro Chamber salutes Southern Arizona’s small businesses for the significant impact they make in our community!
72% of the Tucson Metro Chamber’s membership are companies with less than 50 employees. While the U.S. Small Business Administration classifies small businesses as those with 500 or fewer employees, the Chamber recognizes that many of our local businesses have far fewer employees working from the ground up with only a handful of employees, wearing many hats for the overall success of that business. In fact, firms with less than 100 employees in Arizona make up the largest share of small business employment. Practically speaking, in Tucson, a gross majority of businesses are technically classified as small businesses per the government classifications.
The Chamber recently held a small business roundtable, inviting members and non-members alike, to discuss their small business challenges. This crowd of 50 were largely made up of business owners with 15 or fewer employees. The group was asked, “what are the largest challenges facing your business?” Their answers were not much different than those from a similar event we held with our larger, corporate members. The two most popular answers provided related to resources and business climate. Resources was an expected answer. Resources are needed for training, infrastructure, product development and employee retention, to name a few.
The challenge identified for business climate related to our local processes, procedures and overall perceived community priorities. Frustrations were expressed regarding the notion that local business issues are considered partisan issues. Comments included the lack of a clear vision by elected officials to align in support of economically impactful priorities, such as investing in public infrastructure, streamlining government processes and improving customer service in areas that touch business operations like development services, the county health department, water and building departments.
Business owners are looking for opportunities to engage with local officials and hear how leadership is working to create a pro-business environment. They recognize that the more successful their business becomes the more resources are generated in the community through higher sales and property taxes. The Chamber is committed to advocating on behalf of businesses, to provide opportunities to engage local officials and meet candidates and strengthen the voice of business to champion a stronger community.
The success of business directly correlates with the success of a community. The economic impact small businesses are making in a community dominated by government and government contract companies cannot be overlooked. We must remember to support Southern Arizona’s small businesses.
Collectively, the voice of small businesses is an extremely powerful tool. Get to know each other. Learn how a fellow Chamber member’s company can save you money, make you more efficient, or provide a valuable service you may not have known you needed, because then you can focus your limited time and resources on growing your own business. This cyclical relationship is important.
While National Small Business Week is only celebrated one week out of 52, the Chamber encourages you to support small businesses every week. Shop your local small businesses whenever practical because growing small businesses builds our community.