Only One Third of Census Bureau Number for Small Businesses are Truly Small Businesses

Of the 32,570,855 small businesses the US Census Bureau says are small businesses, only about one-third of them are what most people think of when they think of a small business, one that has employees.

Its even worse than that. The 76.2% of small businesses that do not have employees only account for 4% of sales of all small businesses. So what is the explanation? Who are these non-employers?

According to Alan Grundy of the Census Bureau, they are

“self-employed individuals operating a very small unincorporated business which may or may not be the owner’s principal source of income.”

Simply put, these “small business owners” are not business owners at all.

A lot of them are people making some money “on the side.” Maybe they sell a few thousand dollars a year of stuff on Etsy. Or a student that babysits to support his education. Or a professional that occasionally rents out his apartment on Airbnb. These people most likely have a full-time job with health insurance and other benefits. They are certainly not entrepreneurs. They are just earning a few extra dollars that they report on Schedule C.

Then there are other types of businesses skewing the numbers. For example, a person who owns ten rental properties, each one with its own separate tax return. Yes, he is a real business owner, but of one business, not ten. There can also be several partners that own one business, but each one files his own tax return.

Another source of the inflated figures are “independents.” These are also real businesses, but without employees. Many of these “businesses” are the main livelihood of service providers such as stockbrokers, cleaners, delivery people. A hairstylist who is independent and just works in someone else’s salon; an accountant or lawyer who works from home; or a consultant or real estate agent who works from a work-share space are all small businesses without employees. The owner and worker is the same person.

A more accurate way of knowing if someone is a small business owner is to ask whether he or she has employees. Real employers sign paychecks, have vacation policies, break rooms, hires and fires.
More precisely, there are closer to 7.8 million true small businesses in the USA. The rest of the 32 million are just people reporting extra income on their tax returns.

Popular Costume Rental Store Closing After 40 Years in Vegas

After 40 years of supplying costumes to customers in Las Vegas, Martin Sadowitz, owner of American Costumes, announced that he is shutting down his business.

Sadowitz, who is now 71 years-old, opened his business in the 1970s after he was asked numerous times to rent out the outfit he wore to disguise himself as a “singing telegram.”
Today the store boasts three thousand costumes, 700 hats and 500 wigs to rent out of his 4,000 square-foot premises located in a strip mall. The owner of the strip mall, the Gold & Beyond consignment shop, is taking over American Costume’s space.

Conventions, film crews, themed corporate events have relied on Sadowitz for their costumes. Participants of Burning Man, an outdoor, counter-culture arts festival in the desert, come to him for goggles to protect their eyes from the dust and wind prevalent at its north Nevada location.

Sadowitz explained that when famous people pass away there is a surge in costume rentals. For instance, when Michael Jackson died in 2009, and Prince in 2016, business boomed. He is expecting his John McCain masks to become popular also in the after math of the death of the late senator from Arizona.

Some of his more well-known costumers include Las Vegas regulars like Siegfried & Roy, and the Penn & Teller television show, which rented gorilla outfits and Elvis costumes.

Sadowitz says Elvis and Madonna are among his most popular costumes.

“Every man should be Elvis at least once in a lifetime,” he said.

America’s Second Trillion Dollar Company Emerges

Jeff Bezos courtesy of
Steve Jurvetson

Coming just a bit more than one month after Apple became the first US publicly traded company to be valued at over $1 trillion, Amazon takes second place in the race to corporate hugeness.

Amazon entered the rarefied atmosphere of trillion-dollar companies when its stock rose 1.9 percent last Tuesday to a value of $2,050.50 per share, just 23 cents beyond what it needed to reach that magic trillion dollar point. The price of Amazon’s stock has climbed by 70 percent so far this year, continuing to explode along with other US stocks in the tech sector. The milestone was fleeting however, when the stock actually closed up only 1.3 percent, not enough to keep it beyond $1 trillion.

Amazon has been doing quite well lately, pulling past other tech major players such as Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and Microsoft. Alphabet’s valuation stands at about $840.3 billion, and Microsoft’s at $854.5 billion.

In 1994 Jeff Bezos founded Amazon as an on-line bookseller. The company grew quickly to become one of the US’ most influential companies. Based in Seattle, Amazon is a leader in e-commerce, but also is expanding to other markets such as cloud computing, home security and movie production. Only Walmart hires more people, and this year’s profit so far comes to $4.1 billion. Bezos is also the owner of the Washington Post.

Bezos is the world’s richest person. As a the major beneficiary of the skyrocketing stock price, as of Tuesday, Bezos’ worth is estimated to be $166 billion.

Limited Legal Immigration is Hurting US Business

Donald Trump and Mike Pence at Executive Order Signing Ceremony Buy American Hire American
President Donald Trump displays his signed Executive Order.

The news is full of stories about the crack down on illegal immigration to the US by the Trump administration, but there is also a powerful effort going on to reduce the number of legal foreign workers, essential for many US businesses, coming into the country.

More work visas are being denied; applicants are asked for more personal information; and approvals are being delayed more often than just a year ago. This slow strangulation of the flow of legal foreign workers hurts hospitals, hotels, tech companies and other business that rely on them and which now are having trouble filling their available jobs.

Without the foreign workers, domestic workers must work more to cover, or businesses are forced to cut back on their services. Corporate leaders are worried what the long-term effect will be on their companies of the best and the brightest from outside the US end up going to Canada or elsewhere, where engineers and programmers are welcomed with open arms.

In April 2017 Trump signed an executive order called “Buy American and Hire American,” which directed the government to “rigorously enforce” immigration laws. The order went into effect without much notice or fanfare.

Not long after the president supported a law that would reduce the number of legal immigrants in half. Introduced by two Republican senators, Mr. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Mr. David Perdue of Georgia, the bill has not gone anywhere, yet. A few lawmakers are saying that the president has been using administrative, bureaucratic means to curtail immigration, since actual legislation to achieve that goal has been stalled.

“If they want to have a proposal on immigration, they should send it to Congress,” said Democratic Representative Ro Khanna, whose district includes parts of Silicon Valley. “The administration should engage in that conversation. To unilaterally and without any accountability change what Congress has authorized is not democratic.”

Hain Celestial Group Reaching for the Stars with New Leadership

The Hain Celestial Group, Inc, makers of Celestial Seasonings tea, Rudi’s Organic Bread;

Courtesy of Flickr

and many other products in the healthy eating niche, is about to name a new leader.

Its been two months since founder Irwin D. Simon announced his intention to leave is post as president and chief executive officer, and now he said that the board and he are about to complete the process of choosing the person who will take his place.

“I am confident now is the right time for a next generation of leadership, and I firmly believe that some of our greatest opportunities definitely lie ahead,” Mr. Simon said.

The first task of the new president will be to bring back growth to the US division, which the company is presently in the process of “proactively reshaping,” according to Gary W. Tickle, CEO of North America. The company has been, and will continue to cut back on its product portfolio to better focus on and invest in its basic 11 brands and top 500 stock-

keeping units in the USA.

“In 2018, we achieved incremental progress in certain areas of our business from our planned growth investments,” Mr. Tickle said. “Although in total, results for the fourth quarter were below our expectations, we’ve seen positive momentum building in our outlook on core distribution from our most recent round of customer line reviews. We already have confirmed 49,000 net new points of distribution for seven of our top brands across a broad range of retailers and channels. These transformation efforts take time to show tangible results, but these initiatives are translating into improvements in our measured channel numbers.”