Small business is big business in Oklahoma
BY LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
3/06/13 at 7:29 AM
Smaller companies employ many Tulsans
Small businesses have a big impact on Oklahoma, representing 97 percent of all employers, and are crucial to the fiscal condition of the state, according to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy.
In its "Small Business Profile for the States and Territories," the SBA analyzes each state's small businesses. It found that small businesses with fewer than 500 workers represented all of the net new jobs in Oklahoma from 2007 to 2010 when the economy was weak.
"This is a striking statistic that reflects the importance of entrepreneurship in Oklahoma," said Dottie Overal, Oklahoma SBA district director, in a written statement. "Without small business, Oklahoma would have been dead in the water when it comes to job growth."
In 2010, Oklahoma had 332,998 small businesses that employed 673,373 people - with most of the jobs coming from companies with 20 to 499 workers.
Small businesses are responsible for 54.3 percent of private-sector jobs within Oklahoma compared to 49.1 percent for the nation, according to the report.
The economy affects small businesses equally if not more than a large company, but small businesses can adjust and respond faster when necessary, the report said.
"We're more nimble than a large company, and we're able to respond more quickly and be more innovative when the need arises. It's much more streamlined," said Barrett Waller, president and CEO of Waller & Co., a public relations firm.
Waller, who chairs the Small Business Council of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, noted that small businesses offer customers experience and expertise they might not get with a larger company because by necessity small business owners are experts in the products and services they offer.
"Small businesses really understand customer service," Waller said. "We realize it's important not only to our customers but to our own success as well. If we take care of our customers then we're going to be successful."
The downturn in the economy spurred many people who lost their jobs to begin startups, said Heather Davis, executive director of small business for the Tulsa Regional Chamber.
Small businesses play a vital role to the area economy, she said, noting that more than 55,000 companies in the Tulsa area have 50 or fewer employees, but about 85 percent of those have 10 employees or fewer.
Highlights of Oklahoma's small business profile from the SBA
- 97.2 percent of all employers were small firms
- They employed 54.3 percent of the private-sector labor force
- Small firms numbered 332,998 and employed 673,373 people in 2010, mostly firms with 20 to 499 employees.
- Self-employment declined over the last decade, but minority self-employment fared the best compared with other demographic groups.
- Real gross state product increased 5 percent in 2011; private-sector employed increased 2 percent.
Original Print Headline: Small business is big in the state
Laurie Winslow 918-581-8466