“Nine out of every ten firms in the United States is a microbusiness – who knew?!”
“And, microbusinesses are one of the fastest growing and best positioned business groups to ride the current economic storm. Read Dawn Rivers Baker’s excellent article on 5 Key Microbusiness Trends for 2009 for more on this.” (From the SBA article: Is Your Small Business a Microbusiness? If So, You May Be In Luck!).
So just what is a “micro-business”? New terminology – or been around forever? New concept or one pulled from the ages? Here’s how the SBA defines it – officially and unofficially:
“Finding a solid definition is somewhat of a free for all. Below is the nearest we have to an official definition, as well as an unofficial definition:
- Official Definition – Advocate groups typically define micro-businesses as an organization with less than five employees, small enough to require little capital ($35,000 or less) to get started.
- Unofficial Definition – Micro-business owners are the ‘…people who refer to themselves as soloists, independents, consultants, craftsmen, artists, musicians, freelancers, free agents, and self-employed people. The majority of these companies are one-person enterprises …operate out of their homes; and many …have part-time help from a family member or friends.’ (Courtesy of Lloyd Lemons in his Microbusiness Defined article).” [Emphasis mine].
Today begins a series on micro-business and the women who rock the business world because they own one. Or are a partner in one!
Right out of the gate I need all to know I’m not an expert on the model. I know it and know it well, as with the exception of one business venture, I’ve owned, developed and managed several ‘micro-businesses’. But I know the model from the emotional or gut side. Not it’s technical aspect and what it takes to make a woman successful owning or partnering in a micro-business. I’m here to learn the same as you!
What I do know is that the micro-business industry in all it’s facets is the fastest growing segment of the US economy – in fact the world’s economy. Organizations like Samaritan’s Purse and other similar non-profit groups have highly successful projects helping women in third world countries set up a micro-business with as little as a $50 grant. A business that keeps women out of the sex trade in Asia and protects African war widows’ children from becoming the property of corrupt governments. The grant includes education, training, equipment and tools.
But that’s half way round the world and while we care and care deeply about the plight of women everywhere; what does this mean for women this side of the pond?
For starters it means we are part of a rapidly growing economic segment that will have considerable klout as our numbers grow. And there’s power in numbers – the kind of power that can influence – even set – public policy!
For the first time, women who don’t occupy the C-suite or a corner office in a multi-national corporation, will have as much say – or more – than those who do! And my dear friends – that’s POWER with a capital “P”!
Again, that’s the future – a future in which we now life. That is, if we own or partner in a micro business.
Here’s some of the challenges we face!
1. CHALLENGE: Too many folks, women and men, consider micro businesses synonymous with “teeny-weeny“. And even the sound of that phrase feels inconsequential. In other words – not important. Not worthy of much of anything. And that creates all sorts of issues for those of us who own or partner in one of those ‘teeny-weeny’ businesses called micro!
2. CHALLENGE: Language! And not just language, but an entire vocabulary. We lack one. Even the SBA can’t clearly define the word. I can’t. At least I can’t without making it an entire paragraph as noted above in the 2 definitions offered, or the image to my right!
We need to develop a language and vocabulary that adequately and definitively defines what 9/10ths of all businesses are doing for the world’s economy.
Then – and only then – can we give those who own or partner in a micro-business the deference due us!
3. CHALLENGE: Esteem! How do we ‘give’ a sense of business (and personal) esteem to those of us who run the world’s economy – mostly in secret? If the word gets translated as “teeny-weeny” in the minds of most folks; then how do we change these minds? How do we change our own minds about the business in which we are engaged?
If I had the answers to the above, I wouldn’t need to list them as challenges. They aren’t just my challenges. They belong to us all. Each of us has a part to play in resolving them so that the world recognizes the benefits and value we bring. Until we can recognize and state the value and benefits we bring – no one else will either!
There, I’ve said it. I’ve laid down the gauntlet and raised the question that many of us shy away from. I’ve set forth the challenges we face and pray that someone will join me in rising to reverse negative perceptions; work on a working language and vocabulary and encourage a sense of esteem among the general business population as to the value micro-businesses bring to the world.
Anyone willing to join me?
Linda S. Fitzgerald, Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Neighborhood Boutiques-OPEN for YOUR BUSINESS
Empowering Women to Thrive
JOIN US HERE:
The Neighborhood at Facebook
Neighborhood Boutiques at Facebook
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-1/p160x160/10933880_10152999878054264_1749306739390848122_n.jpg?oh=3b9b3e144f0b306aa0cc748b03d9dd6a&oe=55550352&__gda__=1432002183_d9a5e0b3a35fc3cfbbe66ed7bc7658c9[/author_image] [author_info]My passion is to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]