Looking Back At Our Nation’s Founders…Small Business Owners

"Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776", by  John Trumbull

Copy of painting by John Trumbull, 1817-18

Most of the readers of this blog live in the United States and, as you know, yesterday was the 4th of July, Independence Day.

As I was going through my typical morning readings of emails, blogs, newsletters, tweets, etc., there were a number of Independence Day references.  One of the emails that was from a micro-business/small-business forum talked directly about Declaration of Independence itself.  A question was posed regarding how many of the signers could be considered micro-business/small-business owners.  The forum posting’s originator stated “they would have ALL been micro business owners – every last one regardless of occupation”.

I could not agree with him more.

There were 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence from the 13 colonies.  Some of them are still very famous today as they became presidents or important historical figures (John Adams or Benjamin Franklin).  However, many of them and their importance just seem to fade away, just as theirs names do on the document at the National Archives (when was the last time you spoke about Lyman Hall or John Morton).

Yet, not only were they all patriots, they were also fathers and sons, providers for their families and drivers of the economy.  From what I could scrape together, over half of them had multiple occupations (because of this, the numbers below won’t add up). 

  • 35 had listed occupations as lawyers
  • 17 were considered merchants
  • 17 were considered as land owners/plantation owners/land speculators and another 2 were farmers
  • 4 were physicians
  • 2 ministers
  • 2 scientist
  • 1 was a printer
  • 1 surveyor
  • Only 1 was a soldier, Caesar Rodney from Delaware

This got me thinking of the micro- and small-business owners I know.

Many of them are extremely passionate about what they do.  Although they vary in what they do, most of them are a support to organizations that are larger to them.  All of them have companies that support the economy.

I hear so many people today (read as “primarily politicians”) talking about the needs of small business.  But it is hard to see that they are willing to put into practice their words.  Laws, rules, and ordinances (or lack thereof) that support small business are needed.  Based on one study, over 98% of companies have less than 100 employees.  That is nearly 68.5 million companies, according to Hoovers.  And that is just based on companies that have a formal business structure.  That does not include all of the solopreneurs that do not have that structure.

This country was founded on freedom and supported by everyday people running small businesses.  Our history has shown that small business owners develop innovative businesses, products, and processes that benefit others.  Although large corporations will not, and should never, just disappear; it is the small businesses that are, and will continue to be, the backbone of this country.

So as you enjoyed your day yesterday, I hope you reflected on what makes the United States great.  Freedom…Opportunity…Courage.  But I hope you also thought about those that gave us all of this…those 56 small business people that signed a little piece of paper that stands for so much.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

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About J. Nolfo
Well...there is a lot to know. #Cx, #Analytics, #SM, Specialty #AgChem, #StL sports, & more. FT @BASFAgProducts. @Mizzou Alum. Supporter of the #Rhino. Tweets my own. #SMMW17 attendee....Dad...Hiker...Scouter...and so much more.

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