You, Me, Small Businesses and the Economy

Social Energizer is an advocate to small businesses and their owners. I feel that America’s heart and future lie within the people. The same people that built America through hard work and the creation of many, many small businesses. Small businesses that many times became large businesses that are widely recognized today. Small businesses that provide much of today’s employment. What if we lose our ability to nurture those small businesses? Joe’s article below outlines some of the challenges facing small businesses, their employees and their owners.

I believe this should be a daily part of our national conversation until these problems are manageable once again. What do you think? How can we get this conversation to the forefront and bring it the national attention it needs?

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Joe Torrence

It’s not very often that four generations of the family ever get together at one time.  That they are all seated around the table for dinner is a feat in itself.  George is 75 years old, Jane is 53, Carol 31 and 9 year old Aaron, share the home in the historic district of No Name City, Florida in this year of 2011.  Retirement has not worked out as well for George as he had hoped so now he lives with his daughter Jane, his granddaughter Carol and great grandson, Aaron in the house in which he\’d been born in 1936.  Jane has a part time job from 9 AM to 1 PM Monday through Friday. This way she is at home in the PM so that Aaron is not alone after school.   George works in a part time job with hours that fluctuate. Carol  works from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM as an admin assistant in a small business and 3 days a week from 5 to 9 PM at the local Walmart as a cashier. Carol and Jane have not had a pay increase for over 2 years.

As it happens so often today the adults talked about the drastic and impacting changes in the economy.  George remembered his parents saying that a loaf of bread was 8 cents and gas was at 10 cents a gallon when he was born in 1936.  He nodded at Jane and reminded her that when she was born in 1958, bread was 19 cents a loaf and gas was 24 cents per gallon.  This prompted Aaron to question how much these items were in 1980 when Carol was born – bread @ 48 cents per loaf and gas @ $1.03 per gallon.  Okay, how about when I was born? He asked.  Well, Jane told him, in 2001 it was approximately 99 cents for bread and around $1.55 for a gallon of gas.

In May of the year 2011, these prices seem laughable.  Bread can fluctuate today from $1.99 to $3.00 per loaf on the average.  And gasoline at this point is hovering from 3.75 to 4.00 and is climbing.  Food and fuel prices are on the rise.  As recently as April, 2011 information out of our Capitol indicates that consumer prices rose 0.5 percent in March, 2011.  But the largest inflation comes from the pricier commodities of food and gas.

Over the past 3 years and longer this economic downturn has harshly affected small businesses as well as many individuals.  The small business owner faces challenges much like that of keeping a family intact.  Often the employees at small companies have been members of their particular ‘family’ for a majority of their working life.  The owner copes continually with seeking  directions that add value to his/her business and still keep a competitive edge as customers are more  and more demanding.  This domino effect makes it difficult to grow as sales slump and profits decrease.

A very real  and personal quandary for the small business owner are decisions affecting his employees.  With profitability in a slump and sales slowing the small business owner faces the knowledge that the choices he/she makes not only affect the company but their employees/family as well.  Among these are health costs which have changed for both the entrepreneur and the worker.  Everyday expenses such as food and fuel are rising continually.  The caring employer has empathy for his/her workers. On the other hand the employer must justify even  minor raises, concerned that the overall business income will not change or possibly decrease.

Some small business owners feel it is their heart-felt duty to take that risk as a show of their appreciation to their employees and to serve as an example of their own dedication to their company and to the individuals that make up their employee family.

Blood families as well as employment families are suffering with this economic downturn. Is there any relief in site or is this the new model for all of us?

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About the Author

Joe Torrence is the general manager for This article was written by Judy Piccirillo a faithful and valuable employee of ( a GPX Company)

Readers, please notice that this is an article shared from, in addition to Scribd, it’s a great place to find articles that can be easily shared!

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

In addition to building great active websites, we do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

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