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Small Business Data

Small business success is community success

Imagine a thriving community. A bustling main street where people can meet, shop, and make new connections. A daily sunrise yoga class in a sprawling green park. Children buzzing around a nearby playground. A produce stand stocked with big, colorful fruits and vegetables. A community center that plays host to your local book club, filled with diverse opinions on the latest read.

That flourishing community is only a possibility through a healthy small business economy. Small businesses not only contribute essential services like grocery stores and childcare, but their revenue feeds back into making the community stronger through schools, libraries, and road maintenance. They are the backbone of your neighborhood, and their success is tied to so many of the things we love about our local communities.

In honor of Small Business Success Month, QuickBooks surveyed small business owners about what success looks like to them, and took a closer look at the data that demonstrates that small business success is community success.

Small businesses improve mental health in the community.

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Not only does a thriving main street get people outside and connecting with one another, small businesses often provide the resources necessary to keep us healthy. Your local yoga studio, therapist, vitamin shop, book store, and gym are all small businesses that play a role in holistic well-being. Even having a space like a coffee shop to meet with friends can improve your day.

Small businesses are better for the environment.

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The larger the business, the bigger the carbon footprint. According to the World Green Building Council, building operations alone account for 39% of all global emissions. Small businesses often operate within smaller brick-and-mortar storefronts or e-commerce, lessening that operational impact. Residents with more local businesses nearby also log 26% less automobile miles, cutting down on emissions within the community.

And data from the SME Climate Hub reveals that 60% of small businesses have plans to reduce their carbon impact. With small businesses largely committed to clean energy and responsible, eco-friendly initiatives, a thriving small business community could be a gamechanger for the environment.

Small businesses create jobs.

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Small businesses make up 90% of businesses worldwide, which means employment is largely dependent on their success. In fact, according to a 2024 QuickBooks survey, more than half (54%) say job creation is considered the top benefit small businesses bring to their community.

Entrepreneurship creates a culture of innovation.

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43% of small businesses surveyed say small businesses encourage local innovation. The US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship reports that small businesses produce more than 14 times more patents than large businesses. And residents can reap the benefits of that innovation: new ideas diversify the local marketplace and encourage others to think big.

Small businesses generate local tax revenue.

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According to the QuickBooks survey on small business success, generating local tax revenue is a top benefit small businesses bring to their communities. That local tax revenue goes towards schools, health care programs, libraries, police and fire departments, and road maintenance. Shopping small could mean fixing that pesky pothole on your road or opening a new elementary school.

Small businesses create a community identity.

A person riding a bike next to a white house.

It’s hard to beat that feeling when a small business owner in the neighborhood knows you by name (and maybe your sandwich order or your dog’s favorite treats they keep behind the register). The local small business economy is what makes up your community identity — from where the kids grow up playing and creating memories, to the places you go for support.

Showing up for those businesses makes a difference: according to data from our Small Business Success Month survey, 73% of small businesses say their community supports them.

Small businesses foster diversity in the community.

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36% of small business owners surveyed say small businesses help diversify the community by bringing new people to the area, and 56% of small businesses surveyed say promoting community growth is a top benefit of having small businesses in the community.

The more a town grows, the more diversity it'll attract. That means a wider range of background, opinions, and ideas — which ultimately will show itself in more inclusive experiences, local government, and regulation that benefits all citizens.

Small businesses provide access to essential services.

A store front with a clock and a sign.

Over half (52%) of small businesses surveyed say small businesses improve the quality of life within the community. That comes by way of small businesses that provide essential services communities need to thrive, like pharmacies, convenience stores, daycares, and doctor’s offices.

Small business success also means fewer food deserts—as small businesses like grocery stores and restaurants in rural locations can provide access to healthy food.

Small businesses support local causes.

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Small businesses surveyed say “contributing to my community” is one of the top metrics that makes them feel successful. In fact, 85% of small businesses surveyed say they’ve contributed to local causes within the last year, such as food banks, education programs, and environmental initiatives. Local non-profits thrive when small businesses thrive.

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