Small Business, Microbusiness, Nanobusiness: The Changing Nature Of Jobs

The shape of the economy is changing as the number of small and microbusinesses (those employing nine or less employees) increase. There are many more businesses in existence now than there were 10 or 20 years ago, as more people start companies and work for themselves. But what is happening and why now?

The story of the growing importance of small businesses, microbusinesses and even nanobusinesses began many years ago and is emerging at this time for a number of reasons.

One, the type of person starting a business has changed from the traditional middle-aged male to include women, young people and those aged 55 and over.

Two, more people are starting businesses than ever before as a way to achieve better work/life balance and enjoy greater flexibility and control over the hours they work.

Three, more young people and over 55’s are becoming entrepreneurs rather than retire, stay in jobs they don’t like or look for jobs they don’t want.

Four, the number of people choosing self-employment has increased, as people seek different lifestyles and more family-friendly and stress-friendly work arrangements.

Five, there is an increase in the number of people working for themselves on a part-time basis while still working for an employer or working on a contract basis; creating a new ‘nanobusiness’ category.

Six, much of the growth has come from small and microbusiness that employ only the founder or, perhaps, just one or two others.

Seven, many middle-sized and large companies let staff go during the recession and are not rehiring even though business is improving and sales are increasing.

Eight, there is a significant squeeze on middle-sized firms, as very large and very small businesses are more suited to the new normal of the post-recession economy.

Nine, there is a geographic dimension to the changes, as jobs, people and employers are attracted to and cluster in and around universities and cities.

The changes illustrate how the tradition of working for a single employer is disappearing, as more people choose new and different patterns of work.

They also show that people are working fewer hours on short-term contracts, resulting in lower income and pensions and creating a range of social and economic challenges.

There is, however, an opportunity for the microbusiness community to speak loudly and with one voice and influence government to develop new policies suited to a changed and different landscape.

SO, the nature and make-up of the economy is changing and people are responding by starting new businesses, new lives and new lifestyles.

What do you think?