According to figures from the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses represent more than 99.7 percent of all employers in the country.
On top of that, small businesses employ more than half of all private sector employees and generate 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually.
It's no wonder someone decided an entire month was needed to recognize the numerous industries and firms that help run the nation's economy. May is that month and it will be devoted to focusing on small business owners throughout the country.
Yavapai County's Small Business Development Center works with small businesses year round. But the SBDC does have something planned for Small Business Month.
On May 20 the SBDC, along with the Tri-City Chambers of Commerce and SCORE, will hold a appreciation luncheon and business clinic in Prescott.
Sen. Ken Bennett and County Supervisor Chip Davis are expected to discuss statewide and national small business issues.
Following the luncheon a business clinic will provide attorneys, bankers, marketing and accounting experts a chance to talk with business owners.
The Verde Valley SBDC business advisor/manager, A. Roy Horn, says now is the time of the small business, especially in the rural area of the Verde Valley.
"The economy locally is just very active," Horn said.
Horn runs the Verde Valley SBDC, 830 S. Main St. Suite 2A in Cottonwood. At the center he councils small-business owners and conducts training in connection with Yavapai College.
Overwhelmed with clients, the Verde Valley SBDC hosted 28 training workshops in 2003. The center oversaw 2,803 training hours in the Verde Valley, and Horn spent 738 hours in individual case consultations.
This year things are getting off to a busy start that may outdo last year's numbers.
"If we doubled the resources at the Verde Center right now, we would meet demand," Horn said.
He attributes the increased number of clients to a need for knowledge and education. Horn said those two things are key to making a small business successful.
"A lot of businesses fail," he said. "We know what makes businesses succeed, it's not rocket science."
Besides education, an entrepreneurial spirit helps a lot too.
"A positive mental attitude, goal directed and self motivated," Horn said. "Those three things are the key elements to an entrepreneur."
The SBDC, along with Yavapai College has been conducting courses for their small business entrepreneurship certificate program. Horn says all the classes were sold out and more are planned for the upcoming semester.
In addition to college courses, the Verde SBDC holds a free seminar every two weeks that gives an overview of the skills and abilities involved in small business ownership.
Other workshops and training classes are also offered throughout the year through the SBDC.
"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy," Horn said.
For more information on the SBDC's training opportunities, call the Verde SBDC at 634-3974.