What’s the first word that comes to mind when you hear the phrase “small business”? That mom and pop shop that you used to buy your ice cream from? The family-owned bakery that’s up the street? The flower shop that creates the best globe thistles you’ve ever seen this side of the Versailles gardens?
Now what do you think of when you hear “big business?” Malnourished children of a third world country working in a dangerous sweat shop? Back-door, under-the-table payoffs of politicians and lobbyists taking place?
Yeah…it goes without saying that “big business” doesn’t equate the warm, family-friendly images that “small business” does.
But what if we were to look at the two in the same light? What if we were to look at them as just being two different sides to the same coin?
When you think about it, all big business started somewhere (read: small business). Look at any company that’s featured in Forbes and you’ll see how it had some very humble beginnings. Their original founders probably couldn’t have imagined the huge mega-profits and cultural impact that their companies have today.
But now, those companies are on Fortune 500 lists and are synonymous with the term “big business.” Since they fall under that classification, are they now evil corporations whose sole purpose is to capitalize on profits? Technically, yes. But what about when they were small businesses that had great dreams of being as big as their predecessors? (And isn’t the goal of any business to capitalize on profits?)
Instead of looking at one “type” of business as being bad and the other as good, we should instead look at all business as achieving the same goal, albeit through different means: providing consumers with goods and services. Now whether or not that initially small business becomes an international conglomerate is left up to: decisions made by those in charge, the economy, basic rules of consumerism, laws regarding corporations, politics, and good old-fashioned fate.
We should also realize that businesses, like people, are simply striving to forge their path in an un-forgiving and fickle world. They’re using resources, knowledge about the market, an effortless knack for tuning into consumer needs, and simple talent to do so. And they’re doing it through whatever means they think necessary, whether or not those means are morally upright or unscrupulous.
After all, if it weren’t for businesses, how would consumers have access to things they need? Things they want? How would people find employment if there weren’t businesses there to employ them in the first place? Answers to these questions are answered by both the mom-and-pop shop up the street and by the local branch of a national chain. Simply put: business.