What do you see when you walk into or drive by your local small businesses?
“If you are like many of us, you see a place that offers you goods and services, a place you can go to and get what you want,” says Glenn Muske, the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s rural and agribusiness enterprise development specialist.
Some also may see the economics surrounding the business. Small businesses mean contributions to the local economy and jobs. In many rural areas, new businesses may mean an empty space in a struggling downtown is filled.
Yet they mean so much more. They often form the cornerstone of local communities.
What this means is that small businesses are one of the first in line to support local projects. They do this through donations. How many youth projects depend on local businesses as a key contributor to their activities in your community?
Not only do they donate money, but the business owners contribute time by working at special events or fundraisers. You also will find them as coaches, drivers, maintenance crew and cheerleaders at events. They are there before the event, during the event and long after the event has ended.
The owners aren’t the only ones, however. Business owners commonly allow their employees time to get involved in these local activities as well.
“But it doesn’t stop there,” says Connie Hancock, Extension Educator from Cheyenne County. “Our local business owners and their employees are involved in leadership roles, formal and informal, elected and volunteer, private and nonprofit, throughout our community.”
In practically all small communities, small-business owners and their employees also form a key part of the emergency response teams: fire, ambulance, and disaster response.
“I have stood in a store when the fire whistle went off, and the person checking me out let someone else finish the job so he or she could turn into a fireman,” Muske says.
“Small-business owners recognize the community is their home and don’t hesitate to step up with support,” Hancock says.
May 4-8 is Small Business Week in the U.S. this year. Take the time to stop by your local businesses and say “thanks” for all they do, not only providing you with goods and services, sometimes in the middle of the night, but for their overall support to the community.
Your local Extension office and the Nebraska Extension growing rural Nebraska support effort, found at http://communityvitality.unl.edu, are pleased to support small businesses.
For more information on small businesses and how to get one started, give us a call. You also can visit Power of Business - http://powerofbusiness.net, Entrepreneurs and Their Communities - www.eXtension.org/entrepreneurship
; your local chamber of commerce; or the Small Business Administration and its related organizations, such as the Small Business Development Centers and SCORE.