It's the season of gratitude — a time where we sit at the dinner table with our loved ones and express thankfulness for our many blessings.
As the Regional Administrator for Region IX of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and as Associate Administrator for the Office of Field Operations for our agency, SBA thanks the job-creating entrepreneurs and their families for their daily sacrifice to keeping local economies thriving.
As we reflect on gratitude, here are 10 characteristics of the American entrepreneur that SBA and our country are grateful for:
1. Visionaries: Entrepreneurs take a leap of faith in creating a business. Being an entrepreneur means doing something for the first time, with little room for second guessing. It can be a lonely road. SBA understands this and provides resources to bring entrepreneurs together through mentorship programs, classes, education, and more.
2. Risk Takers: Entrepreneurs take chances in expanding their business. Often it means abandoning a career to pursue a dream. When an entrepreneur takes his/her side hustle to the next level, they may even put aside job security. SBA has resources to assist entrepreneurs to avoid common mistakes when first starting a business.
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3. Financial Managers: Starting or scaling up a business requires capital. Successful entrepreneurs must learn how to be financial managers to balance investments, profits and risks. SBA backs up entrepreneurs by providing loan guarantees to start or expand a business; in addition, SBA resource partners stand ready to assist in developing a business plan, counseling and mentorship.
4. Job Creators: When an entrepreneur starts their own business, they create new jobs in the community. Small businesses generate two of every three net new jobs and deliver essential goods and services to our community. At SBA, we celebrate the 30 million small businesses that ignite our local economies and enrich our communities throughout the year.
5. Daily Hustlers: The daily hustle of entrepreneurs, their families and team, especially the grit and grind during the holiday season, is relentless. In the age of social media, entrepreneurship may look glamorous, but in reality, an entrepreneur does not clock out. SBA understands the many sacrifices and that is why SBA provides the Emerging Leader's program, “mini MBA,” at no-cost to assist entrepreneurs taking their business hustle to the next level.
6. Persistent: Entrepreneurs are persistent in following the necessary local, state, and federal regulations in order to successfully manage a business. SBA's Advocacy team is an independent voice for small business within the federal government. Advocacy advances the views and concerns of small business before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, federal courts and state policymakers.
7. Problem Solvers: Entrepreneurs daily journey is filled with challenges that must be solved. From learning HR rules to hire and manage employees, accounting, marketing, and so on. SBA's resources, such as SCORE, provide free mentoring and education to business owners to learn from others who have been through the entrepreneurship journey.
8. Focused: Among all the tasks that must be done to run a successful business, entrepreneurs know how to stay focused. SBA provides online and local resources to assist entrepreneurs while balancing personal growth, managing and scaling up their business.
9. Community Builders: The workers hired by small businesses are not just employees; they become part of the business family. When more jobs are created in the community, it allows employees the ability to work closer to home. About half of all American workers are either employed by a small business or own a small business. SBA provides grants/programs such as Makers MaTCH competition to assist in training today's workforce for local on-demand jobs that small businesses need.
10. Community Supporters: Local small business owners sponsor Little Leagues, youth sports, nonprofit organizations and local charity causes. In addition, local small businesses bring in revenue for local governments that provide essential police and fire protection and improve local parks. SBA understands that small businesses enrich local communities by bringing unique flavors to main streets all throughout America, and services to keep communities thriving.
How do we as a community support local businesses? During this holiday season, we encourage you to shop and dine at local small businesses on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30, and throughout the holiday season for all your shopping needs.
In between the big box holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 to help independent businesses capture a larger piece of the critical holiday season spend, while also rallying around a moment — a nationally recognized day — to celebrate the incredible contributions that these businesses make to their local communities and to the American economy.
Go to www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small to learn more about Small Business Saturday.
Michael Vallante is the U.S. Small Business Administration's Associate Administrator for the Office of Field Operations, overseeing the 68 district offices and nine Regional Administrators; and Regional Administrator for Region IX, overseeing the agency's programs and services in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam. Go to www.sba.gov/offices/regional/ix to learn more.