A study came out last month that confirmed what we’ve been preaching since we started: more small businesses are good for communities. We’ve heard a lot from the presidential candidates this year about how more small businesses and entrepreneurs are essential to create jobs.
According to “The Health and Wealth in US Counties: How the Small Business Environment Impacts Alternative Measures of Development,” they’re doing a lot more than that. After analyzing health and well-being indicators with the number of small businesses per 100,000 people in more than 3,000 counties and parishes in the U.S., the researchers found that the communities with the highest rates of small businesses are healthier, with lower rates of mortality, obesity and diabetes.
Some would see this as a paradox. Small businesses have historically not been able to pay the higher salaries that their larger counterparts can and don’t have the clout to negotiate lucrative health insurance plans for their employees. So why is this happening?
Since small businesses are started by community members for community members, they’re much more likely to view themselves as well, a part of the community. Because of this feeling of community investment, small business owners and employees are much more likely to embrace “collective efficacy,” or taking responsibility for solving local problems. The researchers found that since small business owners know that the community’s well-being is intrinsically tied to their profitability as a business, they’re more likely to take part in community health decisions and decide based on what’s best for the community. Businesses without an owner in the community may have to think about the interests of the larger corporation and company.
What do you think? Have you lived somewhere with or without a lot of small businesses and noticed a difference in the population?