It is Small Business Week, and for most Americans, small business is personal. More than half (56 percent) of American voters have a parent, immediate family member or close friend who have either previously owned or currently own a small business, according to a Morning Consult survey conducted by University of Phoenix® School of Business in April 2016. For many, it is even closer to home: Fourteen percent of American voters from the same survey say they currently own their own businesses.

Small businesses have provided two-thirds of all net new jobs since the 1970s 1, and currently employ 56.1 million of the nation's private workforce. This is greater than the enterprise sector (companies with more than 500 employees), which employs 51.6 million. 2

"Small business not only plays a critical role in the economy, but it is often where the innovation happens," said Ruth Veloria, executive dean of University of Phoenix School of Business. "Many big businesses today are trying to capture that spirit in their own organizations and are looking to small businesses for inspiration to be more nimble and customer-centric."

Local Matters

For most Americans, the value of small business extends beyond their own interests. The School of Business survey also found that nine-in-ten American voters believe small businesses are important to their communities and to the health of the U.S. economy. Sixty-two percent say they buy locally most or all of the time to support small businesses in their communities, and more than a third (35 percent) have increased the amount they buy locally in the past year.

As the country celebrates small businesses, Veloria offers tips for those who aspire to be business owners:
  1. Start with a business idea that not only fulfills specific customer needs, but has enough market demand. Support your idea through market research, competitive intelligence and target audience assessment.
  2. Create a business plan and use it to set priorities, address gaps and lay out your growth strategy.
  3. Do not operate in a vacuum - network and learn from other successful entrepreneurs.
  4. Consider identifying a mentor or peer advisor - no matter how successful your business is, having someone to bounce ideas off of and who has navigated the waters can give you an edge.
  5. Don't be afraid to fail forward. Create an environment from the beginning that allows individuals to test, take risks and grow.
  6. Be reflective and honest. As your organization grows, do an honest skills assessment, so you know areas in which you need to grow or hire to fill the gaps. People management/human resources, marketing, technology and finance are some common areas in which entrepreneurs who have specific industry knowledge may need to grow their knowledge.

Methodology:

A national sample of 2,003 registered U.S. voters completed this online survey, conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of University of Phoenix School of Business, from April 20-22, 2016. The margin of error for the full sample was +/- 2 percent. For complete survey methodology, please contact Tanya.Burden@apollo.edu.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.

1 https://www.sba.gov/managing-business/running-business/energy-efficiency/sustainable-business-practices/small-business-trends 2 http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/econ/g12-susb.pdf

View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160502005467/en/

Copyright Business Wire 2010