Is the Term ‘Small Business’ Degrading?

small business, small wonders
small business, small wonders
I just read a short blog post by The New York Times’ You’re The Boss about the term ‘Small Business’ – The writer titled the blog post “Is the Term ‘Small Business’ Demeaning?” To take it a bit farther from there, I titled mine “Is the Term ‘Small Business’ Degrading?”


I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time ago, and to answer the question, come to think of it, although the topics about terms and definitions are almost always silly and ridiculous, the term ‘Small Business’ is a bit degrading to me.

It’s ironic to classify businesses as “small” where in reality, small businesses are a nation’s important economic driving factor – If small businesses thrive, the economy will recover – and vice versa.

I, too, use the term ‘small business’ quite a lot, especially in, because it is a commonly and widely used term to describe a business that:

  • …is independently owned and operated, with a small number of employees and relatively low volume of sales (Wikipedia)
  • …usually defined as those with fewer than 100 employees (
  • …has had less than $1.5 million in gross annual sales in the most recent calendar or fiscal year (
  • …are domestic companies with revenues of under $25 million, and not investment companies (

…and so on. All in all, small business is described as a business that is small in size (‘small’ is relative – it could went up to 499 employees according to some definitions), revenue ($24.9 million annually is… small?)… and – unfortunately – significance.

Small business – A degrading name tag but the key to economic recovery

Small business is definitely an integral part in world’s economy. I think that if a region wants to experience economic recovery, it must take a good care of the small businesses reside in it, for instance, tax break and incentives (something that has been missing from small businesses in many, if not all, parts of the world.)

And yes, almost all entrepreneurs start from small business ownership, either from a startup process or an acquisition of established small business.

Have your say

Here are some interesting comments I found from the blog post I mentioned above:

  • “How about size-challenged business?” – Shine
  • “Small business does not mean bad business. The only reason one would cringe when hearing this is due to their own insecurities.” – Jefe
  • “Why would anyone take offense, feel demeaned or undervalued by falling into that (small business) category?” – George Scott
  • “There are marketing advantages to being called a ‘small business’ rather than a ‘big business.’ The problem is there is no standard definition.” – Mike
  • “Demeaning? No way. Small is beautiful