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Based on the U.S. Small Business Association’s (SBA) definition of small businesses as independent organizations with fewer than 500 employees, there are over 33 million small businesses in the United States. This accounts for 99.9% of all U.S. firms, employing almost half (46%) of America’s private sector workforce. By all standards, small businesses play a crucial role in the U.S. economy and job market.

That’s why it’s important to be aware of the many challenges and opportunities small business owners and managers face today. Indeed, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 20% of new enterprises shut down within their first year. While many businesses experience initial success, only a select few thrive in the long run. Of the businesses that commenced in 2012, only about 35% were still operational in 2022, meaning only a little over a third of those celebrated their 10-year mark. So what separates companies that “make it” from those that don’t? While there are too many variables to offer one formula for guaranteed success, one thing is certain: How you view and treat your most valuable asset — your people — is a deciding factor.

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