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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

The Label “Small Business”- Good or Bad?

Written By: Carol Roth | 3 Comments

Entrepreneurs, business owners, and small businesses get labeled a lot of things, the most common being “small business” or “small business owner”. But, the term “small business” is not without controversy, as some think that it’s pejorative or just don’t identify with it. So, we decided to go right to those in the thick of it and ask the incredible CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to provide their own thoughts on the label “small business”. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.

You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.

1. Small Businesses Grow!

The term small business identifies with a business or company that is independent of larger brands or enterprises and is of a considerably smaller size. I label Red Beach Advisors as a small firm. As a business consultancy, we provide services for small businesses looking to build, grow, and scale to become larger brands. The term small business is not a negative, but a badge of honor for those owners looking to reach their hopes and dreams.
Thanks to: Ray McKenzie of Red Beach Advisors.

2. The "Small Business" Label

Is the "small business" label good, bad or irrelevant?

Perhaps, it's all in the eye of the beholder.

I've provided a variety of services for small businesses and I love working with them, whether they want to grow large or remain "small" forever. For me, the name is "attractive" because it identifies a client I like to work with.

I also like to support small businesses, giving them my money first whenever possible.

"Small Business" - good label or bad? For me, it's good!
Thanks to: Stephanie Hackney of Branding Masters.

3. Small Business, Big Loyalty

There is great local support for small businesses. The top positive attribute people think of when they think "Small Business" is exceptional customer service and a willingness to go above and beyond for customers. Because of this service, customers remain loyal. Behind the curtain, being a Small Business Owner means that I can move faster and be more nimble than a large company. If I want to try something new, there is no red tape holding me back or board to go to for approval; I can innovate.
Thanks to: Michelle Stansbury of Little Penguin PR.

4. Too Broad and Way Too Boring

If you say you're a small business owner, people's eyes glaze over. Technically, a small business could employ 100 people or more! So, owning one doesn't help anyone understand what you do or who you help. Even worse for service providers who try to differentiate themselves by saying they "work with small businesses". Where I live, that's 98% of all businesses. The term has lost its meaning and is pointless and vague - almost every entrepreneur is a small business owner.
Thanks to: Jessica Oman of Renegade Planner.

5. Small But Mighty!

I'm happy to be called a small business owner. It implies more personalized service for my clients. Whether it's a PR campaign, proofreading website text, or copyediting an author's book manuscript, I aim to deliver more than what I promise, so I'm even happier referring to my business as "small but mighty."
Thanks to: Flo Selfman of Words à la Mode.

6. I'm Fine with "Small Business"

I run a small business -- a one person consulting and coaching company -- out of my house. I am fine with the terms "small business" and "small business owner." When asked, I often describe myself as a "solopreneur." The label isn't important; the quality of my service is what matters to me and my customers.
Thanks to: Bud Bilanich of The Common Sense Guy.

7. Small Business = Huge Impact

No entrepreneur considers his business to be "small" and, yet, this is a category they may fall into. But no matter the actual size of the operation, the ideas, the reach and the impact of any “small” business is great and the charisma required of the owner to bring a business to fruition is huge. Your business and your efforts will make a big difference in many people's lives. And that must always be acknowledged.
Thanks to: Kate Edwards of Kate Edwards Consulting, LLC.

8. Name Vs. Value

I have never been one that is big on titles. In fact, I have not had a title on my business card in almost 20 years. Titles & labels limit you in the eyes of your audience. To me, it is about communicating the value that you provide & telling a great story that shows your worth in the market. If you focus on how you can understand & solve people's problems, they do not care what size business you are! However, if you live by other people's titles, you become a commodity & cannot differentiate.
Thanks to: Ben Baker of Your Brand Marketing.

9. Small Business Owners ROCK

The term small business owner means that I an entrepreneur and that I am free to live my life and generate income on my own terms. Small business owners are the backbone of the US economy and we should hold our heads proud. We rock!
Thanks to: Peter Geisheker of The Geisheker Group, Inc.

10. Small and Mighty

My 4-year-old and 6-year-old like to show off their mighty muscles. They're small people, but they're growing fast and they're mighty. Similarly, I take pride in running a small business. It's growing fast and it's pretty mighty for a scrappy startup.
Thanks to: Brandon Bruce of Cirrus Insight.

11. Don't Worry About Labels!

I never mind being called a small business. I own the whole company and outsource 99% of what I do, so I guess that makes me small, eh! That allows me to turn on a dime, so I'm very proud of it. Being small means that I can choose to do amazing things that few large companies will try, as we now are the top custom duck manufacturer in the world and the only ones making the safest rubber ducks on the market for babies to teethe on out of food and medical grade materials and 100% made in the USA. Small indeed!!
Thanks to: Craig Wolfe of CelebriDucks.

12. Small Business is Big Business

There are a lot of advantages to being a small business. Plus, when I pitch my advertising business, I look for companies with advertising budgets that are getting too big for them to do it by themselves, yet, not big enough for them to use the big ad agencies. Big ad agencies can't make enough money off of small accounts and they won't put a lot of effort into working on a small account. A smaller ad agency like mine is a much better fit for many companies.
Thanks to: Robert Barrows of R.M. Barrows Advertising.

13. I'm a Small Business

I own a small business--small publicity agency. I don't mind being called small- I am. I'm proud of being small and successful. I'm not big and never wanted to be. I'm no rival to the top agencies, but I have my niche.
Thanks to: Miriam Silverberg.

14. Expert Service & Maneuverable

I am a Solopreneur, but I love the label small business. I am perceived as an employer, a contributor to the local economic community, established and still growing. A success. As a customer, I feel that a small business owner is more accountable to me, often having more knowledgeable answers to my questions, more offers, opportunities or perks for doing small business. It's the little things, the expert service and maneuverability of small businesses that make us better than large corporations.
Thanks to: Katie DeCicco of CelebrationSaunas.com.

15. You Can Make a Big Difference

Small Business is the life blood of the American economy. It accounts for 65% of new jobs created. If we were smart, we’d be developing programs that focus on helping this business segment with capital and mentoring to give existing small businesses a better chance to survive and create new jobs. The government should also be working with funding sources to foster the creation of more new businesses. I am very proud to be a small business owner. I can’t think of a higher calling.
Thanks to: Greg Gottsacker of North Star Business Systems, Inc.

16. Small is the New Big

A small business is a huge feat and a majority of American jobs rely on the small business owner. I prefer the term Entrepreneur because you really are on your own, innovating your strategy for survival.
Thanks to: Ellen Cagnassola of Sweet Soaps Media.

17. Most Names Don't Matter

If pressed, I prefer up and coming business owner. Most labels aren't important. However, your brand name is very important. At the midway marketplace, I call myself an amusement equipment reseller because broker was a dirty word. When I called myself the blind blogger, many thought this was exploitive. I feel it's descriptive. And people were calling me that before I started doing so. If you know who you are and what you do and focus on that, the labels that matter will take care of themselves.
Thanks to: Maxwell Ivey of The Blind Blogger.

18. Small and Proud!

I always introduce myself as a small business owner and the reaction is generally positive. I think it seems more accessible and even more special. Support for small and/or made in the U.S.A. businesses is on trend. Not that growing to a larger business is not a goal, but I love the attention and support I receive as a small business. However, I am just getting started and expect I'll run into some negative aspects of being a small business along the way.
Thanks to: Valerie Drame´.

19. This Label Fits and Works!

In general, I don't love labels because we each have different associations with them and those associations (not the 'directly present variables') often inform our choices. However, I do feel that the 'small business' label serves its purpose in drawing potential customers in who wish to be more than 'just a number', appreciate personal service and attention and want an experience that feels customized to their needs - benefits large businesses are not known for.
Thanks to: Joy Holland of Facets of Joy.

20. I'm Pretty Mixed Up

Is this a small business? Or am I a freelance writer and consultant? I run a flexible business model. No employees, just a team of subcontractors and a network of resources. When business is slow, I'm a lone harmonica player by the campfire. When business is heavy, I'm the conductor of a finely-tuned symphony.

"Small business" is fine with me.
Thanks to: David Leonhardt of THGM Writing Services.

21. Heart of America

A “small business owner” is someone I consider the “Heart of America”. They are the people who have an idea, the desire to serve others through their talents, and the belief to make that idea a reality. These are not overpaid fat-cat CEO’s with Ivy League pedigrees. They are people like you and me, trying to provide for their family and contribute to their community. They are what people talk about when they say, "Buy American".
Thanks to: Mike McRitchie of Critical Path Action.

22. You Can Call Me Small!

Admittedly, it makes me laugh when I hear the term small business, because when it comes to so many things like Govt. & Banking, it can be a 1 person firm up to a 500 person corporation. I consider ScrubzBody™ a micro-micro-micro small business, & for me, the connotation is a really good one. The reason is because I see small business as one of true customer care, customer loyalty & one on one customer service. I love knowing who my "brand ambassadors" are & how I can best serve their needs.
Thanks to: Roberta Perry of ScrubzBody™ Natural Skin Care.

23. Cultivating Community

I love the label of small business owner, although it took a little time to transition to that from research scientist. I feel like the label defines my ability to conquer a variety things and work hard on something I believe in. In addition to my area of expertise of cosmetic formulating, I’ve needed to know about marketing, sales, management, books and much more. Small business plays an important role in defining community and I am excited to be part of that in my community.
Thanks to: Cindy Jones of Colorado Aromatics.

24. Small Business- a Loaded Term

So, I think the term small business is a loaded term where I live. In SF, we often talk about startups and disruption, a small business isn't capable of, quite frankly, growing quickly enough to be interesting to many people. I know that's a local thing and not everyone is the next Uber... but in Southern California, I found the term small business to be a positive one... here, not quite as much.
Thanks to: Mark Aselstine of Uncorked Ventures.

25. I’m Proud

After spending 20 years with a Fortune 200 company and 15 years owning a small business, I know which situation requires more knowledge and effort to succeed. Currently, I have several eCommerce properties and we compete with the big brands on a daily basis.

Small businesses can be both operationally excellent and customer focused. I know we can’t out-Amazon Amazon. But, we answer the phone every time it rings.
Thanks to: Robert Shirilla of Tapestry Throws.

26. Position Your Business Name

I call my company, Author One Stop, a national publishing consulting firm. Using the word, "national", is true because my clients, as well as my editorial team, live all over the country. It's a great positioning for a small business that yields mighty results.
Thanks to: Randy Peyser of Author One Stop, Inc.

27. Call Me "Solopreneur"

Although I do identify myself as a small business owner (SBO), the phrase means many things to different people. If you’re trying to get a loan from the government, a small business can have 200+ people (see http://1.usa.gov/20RKwfF). Most SBOs would consider 200 people to be a large business. Many SBOs are by themselves, so my favorite term is "solopreneur." I am proud to be part of the small business community. We provide important resources that I wasn’t aware of before I started.
Thanks to: Linda Lovero-Waterhouse of WSI Web Systems.

28. Small Business in Florida

Small business is not a bad label at all. In the state of Florida, being labeled a small business is actually a good thing because people tend to associate better service and quality to small businesses because they have more to lose if they lose out on a customer for any reason.
Thanks to: Tyler Ullery of North Force Marketing.

29. SMB Owners Create Jobs

Sometimes, people that work for large corporations can use "small business" in a negative connotation. I find this very frustrating, because the risks that small business owners take are so much greater than what they take working for a large company. They don't understand the stress in being available 24/7 or knowing that you have other people relying on you for their livelihood. In fact, small business owners should be embraced by the public and the government for what they do--take risks.
Thanks to: Bob Bentz of ATS Mobile.

30. "Local" Business Powers the US

The term “small business” often carries a pejorative connotation. Often seen as unprofessional, overpriced, and untrustworthy by consumers, “small businesses,” which I prefer to call “local businesses”, are the lifeblood of the economy and are the primary source of job growth in the U.S. The money we spend locally goes into the lives of people just like us. We’re not only getting a great product or service -- we’re putting money right back into our community.
Thanks to: Jonathan LeRoux of TurtlePie Solutions.

31. Small Like Us

To us, being labeled a “small business” is a good thing. In fact, we purposely try to stay small because it allows us to be nimble and quick to respond to changes in our industry. I’ve actually heard from CEOs of big companies who wish they were small like us. For us, being a small business is definitely more of a good thing than a bad thing.
Thanks to: Luke Knowles of Coupon Sherpa.

32. The Millennial Entrepreneur

When I think of a small business owner, I think of someone whose goal is to maintain their business until retirement. For millennials who begin their own small business, our jobs will shift over time. The label entrepreneur sounds more proactive than 'small business owner.' Every day, an entrepreneur wakes up facing new opportunities. Entrepreneurs create, adapt, and hustle. I am proud to be a small business owner, but even if I do not always own a small business, I will always be an entrepreneur.
Thanks to: Maria Grace of Maria Grace Photography.

33. Bantam vs SMB, The Title Fight

I have begun referring to my ‘Small’ business as a ‘Bantam’ business.
Saying we are a ‘Bantam Business’ relays that we may be smaller than some of our competitors, but we are still in the fight! Now, when someone asks the size of my company, I am excited to offer up the information. It gets a conversation going and shows creativity all in one. We may be in the Bantamweight division, but we are still in it to win it!
Thanks to: Alyssa Riccio of Aspen Technology Group.

34. Don't Kill My Ambition!

I'm not fond of the title "small business". The term “start-up” is much better and encouraging. I have a problem with the word “small” because I want to be “big" one day. Words and perception are so important.
Thanks to: Zondra Wilson of Blu Skin Care, LLC.

35. Small But Mighty!

I think "small business owner" is an accurate, powerful, and helpful description of those who are entrepreneurs or who have a small team. People like us feel connected to a community of others who experience triumphs and hardships in the same way. I love the idea!
Thanks to: Lori Kaye of Biz zealot.

36. Small, But We Mean Business!

If my business has a staff of ten or under, I have no issue being labelled a small business. This includes a single person operation, which provides a specific suite of services like I do. In my opinion, the quality of the services that one provides differentiates you from the so called big business. The title small business ‎was created by so called “big businesses” to create an opinion that your small company is inferior but by providing 7 star services, you can quickly dispel that myth.
Thanks to: Marcia Shury of KAM Consultants.

37. The Inconspicuous Many

Sixty percent of business in America is "small"; we are the backbone of the American economy. No shame is justified for a noble pursuit.
Thanks to: Steve Tueting of AirX Utility Surveyors, Inc.

38. Upside of Being "Small"

The label small business is perfect for my company. I manufacture and wholesale a boutique product that is exclusive and limited in its distribution in high-end, contemporary women's boutiques across the US and Canada. My small business owner status makes my brand feel special and unique. I describe myself as innovative and current. I can be more efficient and creative since I only answer to myself. I own all my accomplishments and success, as well as my mistakes.
Thanks to: Tara Gallagher of bumbrella by CiCi Soleil.

39. Small Business

I like the label "small business," perhaps due to my background. Because of my date of birth, I was always the youngest in my class. I was also physically one of the smallest. My teachers and classmates always had cute nicknames for me. To me, the term "small business" is the opposite of a "huge corporation." It feels more human. When I hear the term SMB, I think of a regular, hard-working person who is just trying to make a living. I can relate to them and have a lot of respect for them.
Thanks to: Edgar Barrera of Bear and Barrera Law Firm.

40. I'm OK with Small

Someone once advised against despising small beginnings. The term small business to me is a reminder that we have room to grow. If ever we get to the point where we don't care to add a new customer, produce a new product or grow in service and sales, I will check out of here. I love being a part of a growing company and proudly wear the title of small business!
Thanks to: Scott Toal of Killarney Metals.

41. Name Your Game

Having had and sold three small businesses before retirement, I conducted each as if it were the largest in its field. Professionalism in all phases of what the 'outsider' saw was enhanced by the motto, "There is No Substitute for Experience." Professional performance endured.
Thanks to: Jim Herst.

42. Don't Call Me a Micro Business

I am proud to be called a small business owner because my business is small! Despite being small, my business helps over 15 families earn a living. That is something that I am happy to contribute to my community. Small businesses drive the economy. So, why call us anything but small? Small business owners can do big things! So, the term small business owner does not hurt me in the least. I am just glad not to be called a micro business!
Thanks to: Andrea Funk of Too Cool T-shirt Quilts.

43. Small Business Vs Startup

These days, many would-be small businesses prefer the term startup, which suggests a very different attitude. It implies that you're trying to build a billion-dollar company or cash out for a quick $10 million. It implies spending money to create growth, and not necessarily spending wisely. We proudly wear the 'small business' label. We're in business to make money, not spend someone else's. A small business suggests a sustainable company that's built to last, which can be done on a reasonable scale.
Thanks to: Marc Prosser of Fit Small Business.

44. Big Businesses Starts Small

When I think of the label "Small Business", the things that comes in my mind are big ones.

Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, etc.

Why? Because of the fact that every big businesses out there starts
small.

Well, behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing. All of the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere.
Thanks to: Darvin Tocmo of Proweaver.

45. Be Proud of "Small Business"

I quite like the term "small business", as there are too many entrepreneurs pushing to call themselves a startup, without really fitting the definition of one. In my mind, customers can expect a higher level of personal service from a small business, can get regular interaction with the owners, and know that their choice of using a small business is supporting their local community. "Small business" is definitely not a derogatory term, it's one I'm proud to use to describe the business I run.
Thanks to: Travis Bennett of Studio Digita.

46. Small Business = Big Identity

The connotation of "small business owner" inspires great pride, as it implies that I created and crafted my dream in such a way that others see value in what I do. It demonstrates that I'm not indebted to a large corporation, but instead, something comforting, relatable, a construct of a real person. "Small business owner" means that others have the ability to do the same.
Thanks to: Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo of Bath, Body, and Candle Moments.

47. Business Ain't No Small Thing

Technically, "small business" can mean companies with up to 500 people. So, the term isn't reflective of any homogeneous group. Let's just call it business. Honorable, profitable businesses - no matter the size - can expand peace, prosperity and freedom. Your business is no small thing.
Thanks to: Ellen Rohr of EllenRohr.com.

48. Startup Vs. Small Business

We're a startup of 11 people and I consider us a small business. I would say a startup and a small business are a bit different, in that a startup tends to be focused more on growth, so I use that term more often when talking about my business. Still, I will say small business from time to time, given that we make less than 1 million a year. I don't think it's condescending and I am fine to call myself a small business owner.
Thanks to: David Schneider of Ninja Outreach.

49. Small Business Name Stinks

My previous company employed over 125 employees, but we technically were considered a small business.

What gets me about the term is that although we are considered small businesses, we are expected to adhere to the same level of regulations as huge large sprawling organizations, without the legal team, human resources department, etc. like large scale organizations have.

If we are going to call small businesses just that then there should be a lower level of regulation that applies to them.
Thanks to: Bryan Clayton of GreenPal Lawn Care.

50. Bigger is Better...

There are so many definitions of how many employees a "small business owner" has. I remember the first time I read that I had to have 500 employees! HUH? Since then, I've never liked being called a SBO. Call me President! Call me a CEO! Call me founder! I run an ever evolving growing firm.
Thanks to: Maria Marsala of Elevating Your Business.

51. It's a Stage But Also a Choice

I don't think the term should be perceived as pejorative. In fact, I'd say it creates a sense of community and closeness among us who have started building our business from home with limited resources. I also think it is a mistake to consider that "small" tag as a negative aspect because there are many business owners who would prefer to keep things personal. As I see it, "small business" could be a stage of a wider process but also, a choice on the type of business you want to run.
Thanks to: Cristina Castro Moral of Sombras Blancas Art & Design.

52. Remove "Small" Thinking

Although some would classify me as a small business owner, I feel the term minimizes both my business mission and vision.

The term "small business owner" gives a feeling of being a cog in a wheel. But, in reality, small business owners are so much more than simply a piece of the puzzle. They are visionaries and creatives that believe so much in their products or services that they refuse to let anything get in their way.

I am a proud entrepreneur that owns many successful businesses.
Thanks to: Shannon K. Steffen of Shannon K. Steffen International.

53. It's All Relative!

I don't care for the term "small business", because everyone has their own definition of small. Some describe a 1 person 'solopreneur' as small. Others believe anything less than 100 employees or $50M is "small".

We describe our business as a professional services firm. That's what it is. Your business may be a consulting firm, a manufacturing firm or a transportation firm. Your industry is more easily classified. Your size and revenue categories are relative.
Thanks to: Elene Cafasso of Enerpace Executive Coaching.

54. Embracing 'Small Business'

I like the term ‘small-business’ and negative connotations only arise when comparing other businesses. It is not uncommon for someone to label my company as a 'startup’. I push back on this even though ‘startup’ is an exciting word. I am building my business based on cash flow, which is different than a startup trying to prove an idea. I am proud to be a small business owner, as I know how hard it is to build a business, especially when your life is so intertwined.
Thanks to: Owen Larkin of SnowPak.

55. Small... But Not Pathetic!

Some owners use the term "small business" as if it's synonymous with "fixed income." Like they're looking for sympathy. And "business-friendly" politicians play right into it. I dislike that kind of pandering. Yes, business ownership is difficult. There are obstacles. The government should get out of our way. But there's zero nobility in suffering under the name of "small business owner" as if it's a burden. Shift the mentality. I'm a CEO. This isn't "small business," it's just BUSINESS.
Thanks to: J. Colin Petersen of J - I.T. Outsource.

56. SBOs Bring People Together

“Small Business Owner” describes something amazing that many people aspire to becoming, but more still do not understand. Business ownership combines freedom and responsibility in an essential way. Many SBOs, such as engineers, architects, farmers or doctors, possess valuable skills, but also bring people and resources together to provide the goods and services our communities rely on. Since the days of Franklin, Washington and Revere, SBOs have been America's foundation.
Thanks to: Mike Wright of The Alternative Board.

57. Small Business, Big Thinkers

I have owned a successful small business for almost 30 years and love the label. With less than 10 employees, I am small, but my clients are global giants. They, like me, appreciate small business and see that we have definite advantages. Small businesses were “lean” before it was popular. We respond quickly. We believe we can make things happen, so we do. Small businesses are always looking for new ways of doing things and that keeps it interesting and fun. We may be small, but we "THINK BIG!"
Thanks to: Cynthia Kay of Cynthia Kay and Company.

58. The Label of 'Small Business’

I’ve always struggled with the ‘small business’ label on companies, as when do you lose that label? When we started our first business, we had a team of three and worked out of the spare bedroom of my house. Now, that is a small business. However, when we were acquired, we were over $12M in yearly revenue. Should we be in the same category as someone who sells cookies on the side? While it is trivial, society has yet to do a great job of defining what 'small business' means.
Thanks to: Bill Fish of Reputation Management.

59. Small Business Label

I do not really identify with the label “small business.” We are a leader in our industry and one of the largest online event supply stores, so although referring to us as a “small business” may be technically correct, it seems sort of silly, as we service celebrity event planners, large corporations, well known venues, and government agencies. Our products have even been featured in popular movies and TV series.
Thanks to: Kim Hawkins of EventsWholesale.com.

60. Prefer a More Descriptive Term

We don't like the term small business. It is such a broad swath of the business landscape that does not appropriately categorize us. It also limits our ability to effectively connect with "big business" with that title attached. We prefer a more descriptive term tied to what we do - cause marketing experts.
Thanks to: Noel Wax of GroundSwell Group.

61. I'm an Entrepreneur

When I think of a small business, I think of a "mom and pop" shop, such as a diner, barbershop, convenience store, or another business that generates a small amount of revenue and is local to a certain area. Although Company Folders is technically a small business by definition, we are larger and generate more revenue than these "mom and pop" places. My company is also web-based, so it's not geographically restricted. That's why I don't identify as a small business owner - I'm an entrepreneur.
Thanks to: Vladimir Gendelman of Company Folders, Inc.

62. Enough With the Name Calling!

I preferred to use the term “entrepreneurs”, which conveys a mindset and spirit of creativity and perseverance.

All businesses started small, so “small business” could be classified as a type of business or a stage in business. To me and my business, it’s the latter.
Thanks to: K.B. Lee of Ever Bamboo.

63. The Fabric of Our Community

Small Business Owner is a label I wear with pride. We’re the lifeblood of our communities, providing good-paying jobs. Being local, our employees have a vested stake in the community compared to workers at large chain non-local businesses. We also create a self-supporting business network, utilizing each other’s services to create an economically sound environment within our cities. Long-term economic growth is dictated by small businesses and I’m proud to be a part of that.
Thanks to: John Kinskey of AccessDirect, Inc.

64. It's a Way of Life

The terms Small Business & Small Business Owner aren’t negative, in my opinion, but they’re not me. I see those labels as something external, separate from me as a person, and that’s very different from how I do business. I consider myself an entrepreneur. For some, the definition of entrepreneur includes growing and selling businesses and that isn’t in my plans, but the term still fits. Being an entrepreneur is a state of mind, a way of life, it is part of who I am and everything I do.
Thanks to: Ana V. Ramirez of Ana Ramirez Photography.

65. Get Customer A/P on Your Side

I’m upfront with both large and small trade accounts that The Funny Apron Company is a small business that wants to stay in business, which is why prompt payment on term invoices is vital. It works. I also never hesitate to contact any accounts payable department regarding delinquent invoices and to inform them we don't have the cash flow to carry invoices beyond term limits. Immediate payment usually follows. And don’t be afraid to use two magic words: Credit Hold.
Thanks to: Ellice Lovelady of The Funny Apron Company.

66. Our Badge of Honor

I can see how many business owners can get offended by being labeled "small"- we take it more as a badge of honor. Being a successful small business is extremely hard, 90% of all small businesses fail during their first couple years. Beyond that, being small isn't bad at all; I've worked at BIG companies that were slow, bloated, and not fun. Small companies are usually much more exciting, where you get to really be a part of something, rather than just another cubicle in a sea of cubicles.
Thanks to: David Batchelor of DialMyCalls.com.

67. The Backbone of America!

Soon after starting my own business, way back in 1979, I learned that small business is the backbone of America! I have been proud to be a small-business owner ever since!
Thanks to: Sheila Van Houten of New Light Consulting.

68. It Needn't Mean Small Profit

Small business does not always indicate small profit. In my experience, ‘small businesses’ tend to do better in some ways than the big corporations. There is a personal touch with a small business that isn’t there with the bigger companies – you are able to put a name to a face. Generally, there is a warmth and friendliness that comes from dealing with a real person. Big business can often miss the boat on this advantage, especially in the world of ecommerce.
Thanks to: Darren Green of Wooden Blinds Direct.

69. Operationally Larger

The term “small business” is neutral in its connotation, but useful for sales categorization. Although my company fits the US Government definition by headcount, our network of partners and company relationships makes us an operationally larger organization in our service offering and delivery expertise. As such, we prefer the terms consultant and partner designations, as each reflects our level of expertise and the type of relationships we cultivate with customers.
Thanks to: Jennifer Mazzanti of eMazzanti Technologies.

70. Makes Me Smile

I LOVE the term 'Small Business' because it feels so welcoming to everyday people. With no 'Corporate' image, people aren't intimidated. It reminds me of yesteryear, when neighborhood people did business with each other. A warm and friendly atmosphere that made for a comfortable environment - nothing fancy - just plain down to earth people working with people.
Thanks to: Harris Glasser of Serving The People Press.

71. How Big Is Small?

I am largely ambivalent about the labels "small business" or "small business owner" as, without any indication of what “small” measures or signifies (e.g., turnover, number of employees), they are largely meaningless. The most frequent use of the term “small business” is to differentiate between a business whose leader has ‘skin in the game’ as opposed to being a ‘wage slave’. But, it is very misleading to believe that the former do not exist in big companies and vice-versa.
Thanks to: Chris Jones of The Display Centre (UK) Ltd.

72. Don't Play Small

Although I used to identify with the term "small business owner", over time, I've grown to find it limiting. I've expanded into several locations and continue to scale nationally. Personally, I use the word "founder" and "entrepreneur", as I'm building something bigger than myself with aspirations of employing and inspiring many people. In fact, our unofficial motto at Hera Hub is - Go BIG or go HOME!
Thanks to: Felena Hanson of Hera Hub.

73. "Small Business" BIG Vision

When our business is called a "Small Business", we shake it off, but it can come across as a condescending remark. We manufacture Wine Infused Foods, and started this corporation with the mind to grow into a multi-million dollar business. Like all companies, we started from $0. We prefer "Emerging Business", as it speaks to the growth cycle every business endures. Though we are grateful for humble beginnings, it's not our final place in the market. Our vision of ourselves is anything but small.
Thanks to: Danita Harris of Rated M Wine Infused Foods.

74. You've Done What Most Can't

While the word "Small" may denote a sense of insignificance to some, when paired with the word "Business", I think its meaning exemplifies the heart of this country. I am passionate about small business, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs. And by the way, call me or my company anything you want to, as long as you're talking about us, we're making an impact! Being considered a small business is something to be proud of, because you've already done what most people can't, you've created a business!
Thanks to: Bobbi Baehne of Think Big Go Local, Inc.

75. Just Call Me a Solo-preneur

I started my company a year ago and I like the labels “small business”, “entrepreneur”, and my personal favorite “solo-preneur”. As a new solo-preneur, these labels make me feel like I’m fighting a worthwhile battle. Also, my business offers a very niche service, so I have no immediate desire to grow into a “big business” or “go corporate”. My business works for me at this stage in my life and the labels don’t bother me at all!
Thanks to: Severina Menor of Affinity Real Estate Services.

76. Living the Small Business Life

I am a "small business" owner and founder. If I get the sense that it is pejorative, I just quote where a majority of people are employed is in small business.

Though, I was insulted by the label "lifestyle business" at first, because it implied my business wasn't a growth business. In time, I've come to enjoy the label and now, even refer to my business in that form more often than a "small business."

Life is good living a small business lifestyle.
Thanks to: Aaron Keller of Capsule Design.

77. Small Business is Big Business

The term small business is ambiguous. The SBA definition is based on the number of staff or sales revenue, and it varies by industry! For example, a highly successful online business does not require the same number of staff as a big box store with both an online presence and hundreds of brick and mortars coast-to-coast. Both firms can be very profitable, regardless of the size of their payroll. The term should not be stigmatized; regardless of our size, every business strives to be successful.
Thanks to: Joseph Camberato of National Business Capital.

What do you think of the label “small business”? Please share your thoughts below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!

And if you would like to become a part of the CarolRoth.com contributor network and find out about opportunities to contribute to future articles, sign up here: http://www.carolroth.com/carolroth-com-blog-contributor-sign-up/

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth