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BFS Capital Blog

Small Businesses Stand Tall

August 22, 2016

Small firms that employ twenty or fewer people make up 89.5% of all US businesses. These small firms are what power the American economy. In 2008, small businesses produced 46% of the US GDP. Day in, day out – small firms prove that businesses don’t have to be big to be successful. Innovative and powerful brands like Death Wish Coffee, Johnny Cupcakes, and Askinosie Chocolate are just a few examples. Take a look at the facts and figures on this infographic to see that small staffs can still generate big profits.

Small Staff, Big Profits, and the American Spirit

The U.S. Census Bureau defines a “firm” as “a business organization consisting of one or more domestic establishments in the same state and industry that were specified under common ownership or control.” In other words, it’s a business with one or more locations owned by the same person or group.

There are a total of about 5.78 million firms in the United States. Of those 89.5%, about 5.17 million, employ 20 or fewer people. Small businesses such as these dominate the American economy.

In every state, small businesses make up the majority of firms. Take a look below, but first note that these numbers don’t take into account “non-employer businesses,” which do not have employees.

Click here to view our “Small Businesses Stand Stall” Infographic.

Small Businesses Dominate America – Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better!

Remember how we mentioned non-employer businesses? Well, if you were curious, there were about 23 million of them in 2013. So technically, if you wanted to add them into the firms referenced above, businesses that have fewer than 20 workers make up 97.9% of the field.

In 2008, small businesses produced 46% of the private, non-farm GDP.

Since 1995, 65% of new jobs created were at small firms.

Small businesses are innovative, too! In a study of firms that produce a lot of patents, it was found that small businesses produce 16 times as many patents as their larger competitors!

Small business start-ups are more common, and the rate of small business failures is falling, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Since 1990, larger businesses have cut 4 million jobs, but smaller businesses have added twice that — 8 million new jobs.

If you added up all of the commercial space in the United States, 30% to 50% of it would be occupied by small businesses. That’s 20 to 34 billion square feet.

Small Business, Big Revenues

Here are some examples of businesses that keep it small but still rake in the dough.

Askinosie Chocolate

Chocolate Manufacturer

Headquarters: Springfield, Missouri

Number of Employees: 17

Revenue Per Employee: $117,647.06

Johnny Cupcakes

Clothing Company

Headquarters: Hull, Massachusetts

Number of Employees: 30

Revenue Per Employee: $126,666.67

McRoskey Mattress

Mattress & Box Spring Manufacturer

Headquarters: San Francisco, California

Number of Employees: 30

Revenue Per Employee: $233,333.33

Tarte Cosmetics

Cosmetic & Skincare Company

Headquarters: New York City, New York

Number of Employees: 34

Revenue Per Employee: $352,941.18

Fresno First Bank

Financial Services

Headquarters: Fresno, California

Number of Employees: 33

Revenue Per Employee: $363,636.36


Team Building & Leadership Development 

Headquarters: Atlanta Georgia

Number of Employees: 21

Revenue Per Employee: $428,571.43

Death Wish Coffee

Coffee Company & Distributor

Headquarters: Round Lake, New York

Number of Employees: 12

Revenue Per Employee: $500,000.00

Headset Retailer

Headquarters: San Francisco, California

Number of Employees: 44

Revenue Per Employee: $681,818.18

Adventure Life

Travel & Private Tour Company

Headquarters: Missoula, Montana

Number of Employees: 16

Revenue Per Employee: $687,500.00

Cue Ball Group

Venture Capital Firm

Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts

Number of Employees: 12

Revenue Per Employee: $16,666,666.67