This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

April 9, 2003

Micro-business will Offer Economic Strength

It is a well-known fact that the strongest growth in employment comes from small business, not major corporations. Small businesses form a stable and active sub-economy. Recognized or not, small companies—including “micro- businesses” with just a few employees, are in the vast majority of businesses everywhere.

Community leaders, anxious to build the economic health of their area, court large businesses with tax incentives and other inducements. Chambers of Commerce typically invest more time and attention to executives and owners of large and mid-size operations than they do to small firms. Amazingly, some cities still have antiquated laws prohibiting citizens to run businesses from their homes.

Future economic growth will come from micro-businesses operated by one person with a couple of employees or subcontractors. These companies will be highly responsive, agile, and resilient. We’ll describe them as “elastic,” as well, because they’ll be able to stretch quickly to handle client projects or customer needs, then shrink back to their original size as soon as the job is done.

These small business will often be highly mobile. They can locate anywhere and be in profitable operation instantly. Many of them will serve a regional, national, or international customer base, perhaps from a spare room in a home or apartment. Communications and other technologies have removed all functional limitations.

Where will these valuable businesses go to operate? The communities that invite them, welcome them, encourage them, support them, and involve them. Those communities will benefit from having citizens who are active people, make a personal difference, and pay more taxes. Wise communities will purge their ordinances and regulations of anything that blocks or inhibits small or micro-business. They will assure that the Chamber of Commerce is genuinely inclusive.

During the economic slowdown, many people formed small businesses, the majority operating from the owner’s home. These new businesses successfully generated income to survive this difficult period. As the economy improves, these micropreneurs will think carefully about whether they want to rejoin the corporate rat race. The increasingly robust economy will provide more opportunities for new business creation.

The future is small.

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