Small business owners continue to be the lifeblood of this country. To celebrate National Small Business Day (May 10), The Harris Poll used their new quick-turn B2B On Demand product to conduct a survey among nearly 300 small business owners to explore their relationships with the local communities they serve. 

When asked what factors are essential to the success of their business, the majority of small business owners responded that they must have a passion for their work (74%), happy employees (62%), and a clear vision for their business’s future (60%). Additionally, 2 in 5 small business owners (40%) also say developing a strategy to engage the community is essential to their business.

Both SMBs and community residents recognize the value of forging a strong bond. How many of us are on a first name basis with our local ice cream truck driver, or know the local pizza shop owners’ kids? It is these types of personal connections that establish a special relationship between local businesses and residents. Ninety percent of small business owners – and a similar proportion of US adults (90%) – agree that it is important for local businesses to connect with their communities.

Nearly all small business owners (96%) view themselves as the backbone of their community, and most (84%) community residents agree. Small business owners serve many crucial support functions in the local community, including donating goods or services (63%), volunteering (51%), creating jobs (51%), partnering with local charities, groups, or business organizations (39%), and sponsoring local organizations or events (e.g., youth sports teams, fairs) (31%). Small business owners often step out from behind their shop counters and can be found in the community giving back.

Communities would suffer without this continuous support from local businesses. Nearly 9 in 10 US adults (87%) agree there would be a huge gap in their community without small businesses.

Small businesses also benefit from their investment in the community. The majority of US adults (85%) say they are more likely to support a business that engages with the local community. Small business owners have experienced this reciprocity first-hand. Virtually all small business owners (96%) agree that local communities support businesses that engage with them. This local support is essential to small businesses’ ability to flourish. In fact, 8 in 10 small business owners (80%) say the support received from their local community has a significant impact on their company’s success.

This National Small Business Day, we encourage you to support the small businesses in your community. While your financial support keeps their lights on, their on-going service helps to keep your community strong.


Latoya Guishard Welch

Vice President, Media Communications Research Team

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