Over the course of the past decade or so, Mark Polelle, a full-stack developer who specializes in blockchain technology, has marveled at how the tech sector has successfully altered the dynamics of the American economy. As a consultant in tech hub of Northern California, Mark Polelle is also keenly aware of the fact that the American economy has long relied on small businesses to encourage innovation and spur sustainable economic growth.
Perhaps this is why Mark Polelle and so many other tech-sector experts are taken aback by the notion that the relationship between tech and small businesses is an adversarial one. Although the tech sector has ushered in a new era in which technology is a key to success in any industry, it does not change the fact that small businesses are still the biggest job creator in the United States. After all, nearly half of all private sector employment comes from small businesses.
Tech and Small Business: The Backbone of the American Economy
It’s become a bit trite to say that “small businesses are the backbone of the American economy” — when the discussion turns to the economy, politicians from both parties apparently share the same speechwriter — the statement nonetheless rings true, although it might be time to add a minor qualifier: Small businesses, enabled by technological innovation, are, and will continue to be, the backbone of the American economy.
The belief that small businesses and the tech sector exist as adversaries is deeply flawed, and small business owners have no reason to fear that the tech sector will minimize the role of small business in the American economy. The opposite is actually true, as small businesses can expand their economic role by leveraging the tech sector in several distinct ways.
Tech Fosters Small Business Scalability
Up until recently, the success of almost every small business was more or less linked to the health of the local economy. Thanks to technological innovation, small businesses now have the opportunity to look far beyond the local economy with the goal of scaling to a degree that would not have otherwise been possible.
Prior to the advent of several important technological innovations, very few small businesses bothered to export. That has changed in recent years, and there has been a clear trend in which more and more small businesses are beginning to take full advantage of these exporting opportunities.
With the help of tech platforms that reach markets beyond the area in which the small business is located, more and more businesses can immediately expand their base of consumers by orders of magnitude. Not only will this lead to greater prosperity among small business owners, it will also help reduce the gap that leaves some markets behind even during times of broader economic prosperity.
Greater Access to the Global Marketplace
With affordable technological tools now so widely available to them, small business owners have the opportunity to access the global marketplace. In addition to accessing a much more robust base of potential consumers, small businesses also benefit from the significantly greater degree of exposure available only through the global marketplace.
In the past, a company offering an objectively superior product or service was not necessarily guaranteed to be successful — VHS and Betamax tapes are often referenced to illustrate this particular economic phenomenon — especially without the right kind of market exposure. As more and more potential consumers are reached via access to the global marketplace, however, small businesses will find that a larger marketplace is more likely to be defined by the kind of egalitarian principles that tend to reward a superior product or service offering.
Small businesses might feel like the speed of technological development is pushing them to the outskirts of the American economy, but that is simply not the case. By partnering with the tech sector and embracing the new technological tools now available to them, small business owners will surely remain the dominant force in the American economy and can look forward to a bright future marked by sustained economic prosperity — and on a global scale, no less.