Being a doer isn’t easy. Entrepreneurship takes a unique combination of resourcefulness and perseverance, combined with a confidence in yourself. Those attributes are major parts of what has made the Fiverr community what it is today, and they’re also major tenets of success in America as a whole.
While our global community is broad and diverse, so are the faces that make up our U.S.-based community of entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business. The Small Business Administration has said there are 28 million small businesses (including 23 million nonemployer businesses) spread across the many regions and municipalities of the U.S. Our buyer community of entrepreneurs and small businesses are a reflection of the country they call home–one that spans 50 states, over 3,000 counties, and over 20,000 cities and towns.
Recognizing the role we play as an organization in supporting American entrepreneurialism, Fiverr wanted to dig into the policy priorities and perceived impacts of those policies to understand what’s driving American businesses forward, and what’s keeping them in neutral. We asked many of our U.S.-based buyers what their thoughts were, and recognized some interesting patterns. Our report, Entrepreneurship in America dives into those questions and more, illuminating a few key findings.
In addition to Entrepreneurship in America, we also opened the doors for many of our San Francisco Bay Area community members last night at a Town Hall debuting the report last night. Check out the stream here. With Congressman Ro Khanna, Natalie Foster, community member Mariah Lichtenstern and our own Brent Messenger taking part, the discussion was a lively and informative one. Entrepreneurship in America may have been the focal point of the discussion, but it was also an opportunity to broaden the conversation and highlight the experiences of many in the room. There was a strong alignment between what the report illustrated and the day-to-day lives of the Fiverr community.
While there are a multitude of issues impacting businesses today, the biggest ones for entrepreneurs and small businesses were those that could be felt locally. Big economic issues like cost of living were huge factors hindering business growth, while startup roadblocks like access to initial capital and access to capital to grow were also major issues holding businesses back.
Localized opportunities included reliable broadband and education and training which many respondents–regardless of where they were from–saw as helping their businesses.
Not only did the report spell out what mattered most to our community of buyers, it also illustrated some of the issues that surprisingly weren’t of major significance.
While taxes and trade may have been hot topics during the presidential debate season, our community didn’t consider them top priorities.
Why might that be?
While those issues certainly have an impact on the way businesses are built, their effect is less direct, while issues like capital access and reliable broadband have a clear and tangible effect on the everyday lives of entrepreneurs and small businesses in our community.
Lastly, we asked about the President’s agenda and its effect on businesses. Much like the political atmosphere in the country, responses were divided with an almost identical split between negative and positive effects. While that was to be expected to some degree, it also illustrated how a community of entrepreneurs and small businesses were uncertain about the impact the President’s policies might have on their daily entrepreneurial lives. In a climate where everything from health care to tax reform is up in the air, a lot of unknowns remain for many in the doer community moving forward.
At the same time, there’s a massive opportunity to provide thoughts on what changes can propel doers to succeed in the near and long term.
To us, we see those steps falling into four main groups:
Create more avenues to access capital, regardless of location.
Business and government entities that can create new or more streamlined ways to responsibly access capital will result in new businesses while allowing existing ones to effectively scale. Additionally, creating more avenues for continuing education through local and digital means will give more business owners the knowledge they need to propel their businesses forward.
Increase educational opportunities for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Both with regard to skills and expertise for their business, respondents felt these resources greatly helped them, so a focus on bringing more such opportunities directly to areas where entrepreneurs reside, while also expanding awareness of digital channels, stands to benefit them greatly.
Expand reliable broadband access to empower more businesses to compete, no matter where they are located.
Not only will it increase opportunity, it can dramatically lower the cost of running a business to put more money back into the pockets of entrepreneurs.
Evolve the safety net to encompass the way people work in 2017 and the future.
Tying benefits to jobs curtails entrepreneurship by keeping employees tethered to traditional employment models. The current structure puts pressure on small businesses, entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs to decide between their well-being and their passion, a decision that curbs innovation and economic growth in the long term.
Different policy issues and topics affect different regions and businesses in a variety of ways, but by taking a look at the attitudes and opinions present across the country, we’re hoping to start a dialogue and discussion around what so many doers are facing each and every day.
Let us know what you think of the data and how it fits with your personal brand/business story in the comments below.