A salute to small busi­ness own­ers

The Compass - - OPINION - Vaughn Ham­mond is se­nior pol­icy an­a­lyst for the Cana­dian Fed­er­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Busi­ness in New­found­land and Labrador

Small busi­ness own­ers toil day in and day out to make ends meet and en­sure their doors stay open. They are of­ten the first to say yes to sponsoring a sports team or a com­mu­nity event. None­the­less, the con­tri­bu­tions they make to the eco­nomic and so­cial fab­ric of New­found­land and Labrador may go un­no­ticed.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Sta­tis­tics Canada data, small- and medium-sized en­ter­prises ac­count for 99 per­cent of all busi­nesses in the prov­ince and em­ploy a lit­tle over half of New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans.

Small busi­ness own­ers op­er­ate their busi­nesses be­cause they can be their own bosses, make their own de­ci­sions, and have a more flex­i­ble sched­ule. They will­ingly do what­ever it takes to be suc­cess­ful. The ul­ti­mate multi-taskers and risk-tak­ers, they are pas­sion­ate about what they do and they love the free­dom to take what­ever path they want.

They are also busi­ness own­ers, not sur­pris­ingly, for the op­por­tu­nity it presents. And in New­found­land and Labrador, there seems to be plenty of op­por­tu­nity if one wishes to take ad­van­tage of it. Our Monthly Busi­ness Barom­e­ter shows small busi­nesses in New­found­land and Labrador are con­sis­tently among the most con­fi­dent in the coun­try. In fact, our small busi­nesses were the most con­fi­dent this past Septem­ber.

Cer­tainly, there is much to be con­fi­dent about. New oil and min­eral dis­cov­er­ies. Tourists flock­ing to our shores in the tens of thou­sands. Some of the best fish and seafood to of­fer the world.

Yet, own­ing a busi­ness is not glam­ourous, as busi­ness own­ers are of­ten over­worked and un­der­paid. Though, they don’t do it for the glam­our or even the recog­ni­tion. Rather, they know it makes a dif­fer­ence, whether it is meet­ing the de­mand for a good or ser­vice or pro­vid­ing much-needed em­ploy­ment in our com­mu­ni­ties.

How­ever, there are con­stant pres­sures that threaten their sur­vival. High taxes, red tape and ex­ces­sive credit card fees are the bane of many small busi­nesses.

De­spite this, our prov­ince’s en­trepreneurs have the vi­sion, pas­sion and drive to be suc­cess­ful and the more sup­port they have, the bet­ter it is for all. That’s why the Cana­dian Fed­er­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Busi­ness has launched Shop Small Biz, the first Cana­dian per­ma­nent online di­rec­tory and deal fin­der de­voted to in­de­pen­dent busi- nesses.

Last Oc­to­ber, thou­sands of in­de­pen­dent busi­nesses and con­sumers cel­e­brated Canada’s Small Busi­ness Satur­day. For con­sumers, it was an op­por­tu­nity to learn more about their lo­cal in­de­pen­dent mer­chants and sup­port the busi­nesses that make their com­mu­ni­ties alive. The di­rec­tory, avail­able at shops­mall­biz.ca, is the prod­uct of the suc­cess from last year’s Small Busi­ness Satur­day.

We say it of­ten be­cause it is true: small busi­nesses are the en­gine that drives our pro­vin­cial econ­omy and they are the back­bone of our com­mu­ni­ties. It is in­com­pre­hen­si­ble where we would be and what we would have with­out small in­de­pen­dent busi­nesses.

That’s what Small Busi­ness Day is all about – cel­e­brat­ing th­ese con­tri­bu­tions, for which ev­ery­one should be thank­ful. So on Oct. 25, shop small and make a big dif­fer­ence.

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