Gone are the days when small business owners were individuals lacking formal education or corporate skills. Due to the advent of the Internet and social media, social status or level of education are no longer the defining criteria for achieving success in entrepreneurship.
Because of that, small businesses have become a really important part of national economies in recent times. This trend is now observable in a number of developed and developing countries. SBEs (small business enterprises) contribute to half of the total GDP in such developed countries as Japan and the USA. This gives one a pretty good idea of how essential SBEs are to the continual growth of any economy. However, in some countries, small businesses are oftentimes underrepresented, and it's high time that changed.
To better understand the role SBEs play, we should first consider some basic economic concepts.
What is a Small Business Enterprise (SBE)?
There isn't a universally accepted definition of small business enterprises. In the United States, SBEs are referred to as commercial entities that employ a staff of 500 and have little influence on the market segment they operate in. In their turn, Europeans define them as having fewer than 250 people.
What is an economy?
An economy can be defined as a system of buying, selling, and producing goods and services. The most basic component of any economy is the distribution of money, or putting it simply, buying and selling. There are many interdependent factors that influence economic growth or decline of a nation, such as labor, law, infrastructure, natural resources, human capital, and technology. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on small business enterprises and their influence on a national economy. There are numerous ways in which SME ensure collective growth of an economy but we'll focus on these four:
- It serves as a source of employment.
- It helps reduce poverty.
- It alleviates tax burden on small business owners.
- It reduces crime.
Due to the abundance of information on social media, it has become relatively easy for literally anyone today to start a small business. All it takes is having some start-up capital and Internet access. However, small business owners need to employ people to ensure their company's growth. Because of the small initial costs involved, people are constantly looking for ways to launch their own SBEs. Examples of such small enterprises include companies hiring custom writers for people who can buy cheap essay, Wieners Circle, Death wish Coffee, etc.
One form of trading that has become very instrumental in facilitating the creation of small businesses is e-commerce (online shopping). E-commerce makes it possible to start a profitable business with no infrastructure at all, and that means little start-up costs. Small business enterprises serve as an excellent alternative source of employment, especially when it comes to jobs that don't require graduate level education. And this, in turn, translates to increased economic growth and development.
Poverty is undeniably one of the main reasons for economic stagnation. Poverty and unemployment go hand in hand, which means that the former can be eradicated by providing more job opportunities. And the best way to do that is to encourage the creation of SBEs at the community level. Given the low start-up costs involved, it's safe to say that an economy that invests in SBEs is sure to experience exponential growth within the shortest possible time.
A spike in crime rate is undeniably another anti-economic growth indicator. That's because it imposes a huge economic burden on the affected communities and taxpayers. And the worst thing is that investors make it a rule to avoid crime-ridden areas.
So what can be done to improve a country's economy if it is filled with crime-ridden communities? To tackle a problem of this magnitude, we've got to first understand its underlying cause, which is joblessness. In fact, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. If that's the case, then creating SBEs seems to be the logical thing to do. In other words, by creating jobs in these communities, you provide people with an opportunity to make an honest living and give a boost to your economy.
Tax payment is one of the major channels through which governments get revenue. As of 2010, small businesses accounted for 50% of the total GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the United States, one of the strongest economies on the planet. This means that half of the foundation of one of the world's biggest economy is based on the input of SBEs. And as we all know, the ratio of tax revenue to GDP is directly proportional. In other words, tax revenue increases as GDP increases. So, not only do small businesses affect GDP but they also directly affect tax revenue. Given that, a rapid decline in output of SBEs will automatically cause a rapid decline in economic growth.
Because of the small start-up costs involved, SMEs are relatively easy to create and run. That is exactly the reason why more and more of them are started on a regular basis in developed and developing countries. This fact alone underscores the grave importance of small businesses. Their growing number means more employment opportunities which, in turn, translates to increased tax revenue and GDP.
Now that you know the role small businesses play in a nation's economy, it should be pretty clear to you that they ensure global financial stability. And this further reinforces the belief that we all have significant roles to play in nation building, no matter how small they may be.
"There are no good men out there," yet another woman my age declared. At 50, I was freshly divorced after two decades of marriage and motherhood. My unhappy marriage had shattered my faith in men and romantic relationships. Based on my ex-husband's opinion of my sexual appeal, I was afraid my naked body would cause future lovers to run screaming from the room. Rather gleefully, I announced to my girlfriends that I was done with men, and sex, forever.
For the first year, I got tangled in my sheets alone every night, overjoyed to have the bed and my body to myself. I felt liberated by divorce—free to be me, skip showering, and make dinner for one. But it bothered me when women decried the scarcity of men, because I'd known so many good ones—college boyfriends, my brother, my best friend from business school, etc. The first of many naked truths gradually crept up on me: I was not going to find my juju again through self-help and yoga. The feminist in me didn't want to admit it, but going for too long without men was akin to starvation.
I didn't want another husband. But I needed men, a lot of them.
The universe signaled its approval by sending Mr. Blue Eyes to me at an airport. He was 29 and perhaps the sexiest man I'd ever kissed. Being with him convinced me, pretty decisively, that men were going to heal me, even though men had destroyed me many times before. I became the female incarnation of a divorced, clichéd older man: I bought a sports car, revamped my wardrobe, and took younger lovers. "I want five boyfriends," I told my best friend KC after that first tryst ended. "Sweet, cute, smart, nice. Enough that I won't get too attached to one." My message from the frontlines of divorce at 50 is that to restore your confidence as a woman, especially in the wake of a crushing breakup, try dating outside your comfort zone, expanding your dating pool to include partners you might never have considered before. It may not be the recipe for a lasting union, but in terms of rebuilding your self-esteem, it can work wonders.
The first thing I noticed—and liked—about dating younger men is that they didn't want to marry me or make babies with me. And I didn't want that either. Frankly, I didn't even want them to spend the night. Since I'd been 11, I'd been taught to seek out and value men who wanted commitment. To my surprise, I found it refreshing, even more authentic, to be valued not for my potential as a mate, but instead for my body, intelligence, life-experience and sexuality.
And the sex! I quickly realized that—warning, blanket stereotype coming—men under 40 are more straightforward and adventurous than older men, maybe since they were raised with the Internet. You hear so often about the scourge of crude, sexist online pornography; and I agree that the depersonalization of women as sexual playthings is deeply destructive to all genders. However, from sexting to foreplay, I found younger men uniquely enthusiastic about getting naked and enjoying sex. Every younger man found my most erotic zones faster than any man my age ever had, with a lack of hesitation men over 50 seemed unable to fathom.
Also, about my big fear of getting naked in front of a younger man? Completely unfounded. I started to shake when Airport Boy took off my sundress in our hotel room. Had he ever seen a woman my age nude? How could I stand to be skin-to-skin with a body far more perfect than mine? I had given birth to eight-pound, full-fucking-term babies. I'd nursed them, too, and at times by breasts looked (from my view at least) like wet paper towels. "You have a spectacular body," he told me instead, running his hand over the cellulite on my stomach that I despised. That night I learned that younger men who seek older women accept our physical flaws—they don't expect perfection in someone 20 years their senior. These men taught me to see my body through a positive, decidedly male lens, to focus on the pretty parts (and we all have them) rather than the flaws that we all have too, whether you're 19, 29 or 59.
I even found the pillow talk lighter, easier and more intellectually stimulating, because a younger man's world view differs so vastly from the pressures of my 20-something kids, annual colonoscopies, 401K balance and mortgage payments. They have simple financial problems, like "Can I borrow a few quarters for the parking meter outside?" or "Do you have any advice on consolidating my student loans?"
Everything feels simpler with younger men. Men under 40 seem less threatened by assertive women; they grew up with them. They like cheap beer instead of expensive wine. They don't snore (as much). Leftovers a 55-year-old would scoff at look good to them. Their erections NEVER last more than four hours. Their hard-ons end the old-fashioned way and 45 minutes later they are ready for more.
But what I enjoy most about younger men is not the sex, or the cliché that they make me feel young again—because they don't. Younger men make me feel old, and to my delight, I like that. I feel valuable around younger men, precisely because I am wiser and more experienced in life, love and between the sheets.
I know I'll never end up with one for good. The naked truth is we don't have enough in common to last. One recently put it exactly right when he told me, "I love this, but there's always gonna be a glass ceiling between us." That lack of permanence, the improbability of commitment and "forever," doesn't mean I can't pick up a tip or two about self-esteem, and enjoy the magic of human connection with younger men. And vice versa. The experience can enrich us both, making us better partners for people our own ages down the road.
*My viewpoint is from the perspective of a heterosexual woman, because I am one. But change the gender identification and/or sexual orientation to whatever works for you and let me know if the same advice holds true. Thank you.