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Small Business

Written by Dick Pryor on Friday October 21, 2011

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The Sheet

October 23, 2011

As Oklahoma becomes more and more "business-friendly," we're reminded that the majority of Oklahoma businesses are small- and home-based businesses. Small business is considered the backbone of the American economy and Oklahoma appears to have a favorable environment for small business growth.

Nationally, 75% of all businesses have no employees. They are considered non-employer businesses. That means that most small businesses in America are not "creating" jobs, but are providing goods or services to support the owner and his or her family. One of the goals in growing the economy is to encourage those small, family-owned businesses to expand and put on staff.

That was one of the topics we discussed on Oklahoma Forum with our guests Fred Morgan, President and CEO of the State Chamber of Oklahoma; Dottie Overal, Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration's Oklahoma District Office; Mike Crandall, Owner of Sandler Training in Oklahoma City; and Carlos Amaya, Business Development Specialist at the University of Central Oklahoma Small Business Development Center.

Our guests provide assistance to small businesses and those considering beginning a small business. They help new business owners navigate the regulatory system, develop marketing strategies and find needed capital. Also, and this is very important, Mike Crandall says they can help do market research so that people with an idea can determine whether they can make money on their project. Since Oklahoma has a favorable business climate, especially when it comes to taxes and tax incentives, and a low cost of living, the state is one of the most attractive places in the U.S. for new small businesses.

According to The Business Journal, Oklahoma City is second and Tulsa ranks fifth on the list of best cities for small business. The Fiscal Times also rated Oklahoma City number 2 and Tulsa number 6. Tulsa, in fact, is about ten percentage points higher than the national average when it comes to small businesses per capita.

Among the reasons for Oklahoma's good showing in these national ratings are low cost of living, access to capital (especially investors in the oil and gas industry), tax climate, and a ready workforce. The areas where the state still needs to improve are in education, infrastructure, technology (such as access to broadband), and quality of life. Oklahoma's high rates of smoking, obesity and heart disease are a major drag on the state's image and workforce.

Small businesses have a major impact on the U.S. economy.  According to the SBA, 99.7% of ell employer firms (those with employees) are small businesses.  Small businesses employ just over half of all private sector employees and pay 44% of the total U.S. private payroll.  And, small businesses have created  64% of net new jobs over the past 15 years.

Of particular interest in these trying economic times is the amount of money available through the Small Business Administration. Dottie Overal told us about an Oklahoman making about $3,000 per month who got an SBA loan to start a new business and is now making ten times that amount. Indeed, tough economic times, even unemployment and under-employment, can help drive investment and entrepreneurship that lead to small business creation and success.

Thanks for watching.

Until next time,

Dick Pryor

(Pictured above, left to right: Host Dick Pryor, Fred Morgan, Mike Crandall, Dottie Overal, Carlos Amaya.)


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