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February 20, 2003
 
Small businesses: A big part of our economy

Betty Udesen / The Seattle Times
Chris Bihary, co-owner of the small, independent Queen Anne Office Supply, said business has improved in recent years. He attributes that to hard work, customer service, wide selection, competitive prices and community involvement.

Small business is one of the most important parts of the economy. The Small Business Administration says about 25.5 million small businesses employ more than half the U.S. work force. Small business has helped create more than 14 million new jobs in the past decade.

In addition, there are about 10 million people in the U.S. who are self-employed - small businesses by definition. About 600,000 new businesses are started each year.

Washington state is one of the top 10 states for small businesses, with more than 185,000 here. If you are thinking of starting your own small business - or you already have - these pages can help.

Stephen H. Dunphy, Seattle Times business columnist


Taking the plunge

Do you have what it takes?
Are you the type of person who should go into business for yourself? The Small Business Administration suggests that you ask yourself certain questions before taking the plunge. [March 13, 2000]

Look before you leap
Many franchise opportunities are legitimate. Some aren't. The Federal Trade Commission suggests taking these steps when considering plans to go into this type of businesses. [March 13, 2000]

Tips for small business management
Good communication skills are key to managing a successful small business. [March 13, 2000]

The privileges of ownership
Running a small business certainly has its liabilities, but there also are plenty of advantages. [March 13, 2000]

Running a family business has its own unique set of challenges
In some ways, Doug Norwood and Brian Boyett lead parallel lives. Both came of age in their families' businesses and eventually took them over. [March 29, 1999]

No time like the present
The economy's growth may be slowing and unemployment may be creeping back up, but for those wondering whether now is a good time to start a small business in the Seattle area, the answer is still "yes," banking and business experts say. [March 29, 1999]

Starting a small business isn't easy, but the payoffs can be plentiful
The impulse can strike at any time during the course of a day at the office. It may spring from a disagreement with your boss, having to grovel for vacation time or just feeling downright restless inside your cubicle. "If only I could call my own shots," you say. "If only I could go into business for myself." [March 29, 1999]

Your network could make the difference between failure and success
A small-business owner must have invented the quote, "It's not what you know, but who you know." [March 29, 1999]

Handing it over: the succession plan
There comes a time in the life of every successful business when it's time for the original owners to sell or move on. But when it comes to family-owned businesses, only one in three is passed on to the second generation. [March 29, 1999]

Passing on your business
Here are things to keep in mind when planning who will take over the family business. [March 29, 1999]

Facts about U.S. and Washington small businesses [March 13, 2000]


The business plan

A road map for your journey to a successful enterprise
It doesn't matter if you've got a fistful of cash and a hot idea. Like it or not, you've got to do your homework. [March 29, 1999]


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