This month, I was honored to deliver the keynote speech at the 24th Annual Small Business Small Business Celebration for the Jacksonville area. I love meeting small business owners: It's energizing and inspirational for me to see their courage, imagination, and ability to overcome adversity.
It's important that small businesses are recognized in this country. More than 90 percent of businesses in the U.S. are small businesses, and they employ 60 percent of Americans. In the last eight years, small businesses have powered the regrowth of employment in the United States. While big companies cut 4 million jobs, small businesses added 8 million.
Small businesses generally start local, and some wind up growing to serve larger markets. But it's not necessarily important to get to larger markets if being small fits a business's purpose. Finding your purpose and keeping it as your north star is easier said than done.
Most small businesses struggle with this. I certainly struggled with it as I built Web.com over the years, but I've got it now. I know what my purpose is: Web.com helps small businesses. That's all we do. If you are a big business, we introduce you to another company. If you are a small business looking for help and guidance, we are here for you.
Sometimes the purpose of a business can get confused. Small business owners might ask themselves, are we supposed to be really profitable? Are we supposed to grow very big? Why did we get into the business? The answers to these questions are critical; don't let yourself be pushed from your goals.
Purpose will guide your small business, but it's passion that propels you forward. What excites you about your purpose? What do you love about it? I believe you have to know the answer to have success. And I'm not defining success as financial success: I'm defining it as being excited to wake up every day, knowing you enjoy your work and are invigorated by the challenges it presents. It's more than ok to dream your dream, and stay true to your passion: that's what being a small business is all about. If you're not feeling passionate about your business, take some time to remember the spark that motivated you to start it in the first place. Life is too short to spend only solving for a paycheck.