It’s no secret that the American economy is fueled by small business, with approximately 99% of independent businesses employing fewer than 500 total employees.

The term, “small business” is broadly defined as privately-owned sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations, but holds different variations depending on the industry.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government entity dedicated to assisting and protecting the interests of small business owners, as well as providing information for small businesses across the USA, including size standards per industry, tax qualifications, employment information and resources for today’s entrepreneur.

According to the SBA, 52% of the population is employed by a small business. Further broken down, here is the percent of working population divided according to their employer’s size:

  • 19.6 million Americans work for businesses with fewer than 20 employees
  • 18.4 million Americans work for businesses with between 20-99 employees
  • 14.6 million work for businesses with 100-499 employees and;
  • 47.7 million work for businesses with over 500 employees

Many small businesses begin on a regular basis (approximately 543,000 each month). While there is no sure way to guarantee success, as each startup is as unique as the individual who founds it, starting a business has the advantage of independence, adaptability, low cost (depending on the industry you are in), and can be quite rewarding–both personally and professionally.

Below is an infographic providing an overview on “the state of startups” in the United States, including common reasons businesses fail, and the percent of businesses still operating after four years by industry.

Infographic: The State of Startups in the United States

What challenges have you faced as a small business owner, and how did you overcome them? Please comment below!

Posted by Kristy DeSmit

Kristy is a blogger, Twitter enthusiast, and company legalese interpreter.