It’s Small Business Week, folks. This is the one week each year that we do what we really should be doing all year long – celebrate small businesses' contributions to society.
This has been an extremely challenging year for small businesses and entrepreneurs. They were already staving off a recession that has plagued our economy for the last three or four years, and just as things were beginning to pick up, along came COVID-19 to derail any form of momentum we had. Not only did it prevent recovery, it actually drove us deeper into economic despair.
The difference between working for a business versus owning a business can be summed up in a few words: commitment and risk. When you work hard for someone, you help the business succeed. But when you actually own a business, you work hard for others to succeed as well. Your responsibilities are multiplied by the community you serve and the workers you employ. You aren’t just responsible for paying your own bills, but for ensuring others can pay theirs as well.
Small business owners have no one they can call in sick to. When times are tight, they are the last to receive a paycheque and, in some instances, might not draw a cheque at all. Yet they still show up for work and in many cases, work longer hours than those they employ.
I’m always amused by politicians who spout off about how “corporations should pay their fair share.” People who say such things have obviously never risked their life savings for the good of others. More than 90 per cent of all corporations in Canada are small businesses. They pay provincial and federal corporate taxes, municipal property taxes, payroll taxes and in many cases, health benefits for their employees. The majority of owners have employees that make more money than they do. They are also taxed more on the income they pay themselves. Therefore, small businesses owners not only provide the majority of jobs in Canada but also are responsible for generating the majority of tax revenue that our governments depend on.
As we look around us at all of the amenities, conveniences and community events we enjoy, let us remember that, if not for those willing to commit themselves and risk their own financial well-being, the majority of things we enjoy as a community would not exist. Even the "large corporations" would not exist if small business owners did not provide employment for so many so that we, in turn, could pay for the products and services of the larger corporations.
That’s why it’s so important to support small businesses – and not just during the one week a year politicians pay lip service. We need to think local, recommend local and support local small businesses as often as we can. Our entire country depends on it. After all, folks, when we eventually recover economically, although the government may take credit for said recovery, the real people leading us back to prosperity will be the small businesses that truly built our communities and by extension, our country as a whole. It will be small business owners' entrepreneurial spirit, tenacious work ethic and willingness to sacrifice long hours that will continue to build all that we enjoy in the future.
Congratulations to all of the nominees for this year’s Airdrie Chamber of Commerce's Airdrie Business Awards. To all of the small businesses in Airdrie that provide goods, services and employment in our city, thank you!