I visited family living in Switzerland this past summer and I was struck by just how amazed our 14-year old nephew was when he found out we had started our own business. Like most of us, he is a product of a typical educational system that trains children to be good employees, and it had never even occurred to him that he could start his own company in an area of expertise of his choosing. Our interaction made me appreciate once again how lucky we are to live in a country that rewards the hard work and unique talents of individuals.
One of the things I love about our industry is getting the opportunity to work with independent professionals who have decided to go out on their own as sole proprietors. Back in the day, it seems like we were all employees of some large company or another and I think it is an exciting development that more and more of the most talented staff in the business are no longer satisfied working for one of the big three-letter acronym consulting companies and actually run their own enterprises.
We’ve all heard the statistics demonstrating the value of the small business in the U.S. economy. Small firms represent around 99% of all employer firms, employ half of all the private sector employees and, according to the SBA, accounted for about 65% of the 15 million net new jobs created between 1993 and 2009. I love that we work in an industry that is rich with small businesses and I think of this phenomenon as stereotypically American.
As we all know, there are some really great sole proprietors in our industry. Of course, as with any group, there are also some individual consultants that will say just about anything to get the job and then not try too hard to meet the deadline or the quality standards for the project, but I doubt they are taking the time to read this blog anyway. But the vast majority of individual professionals I’ve worked through the years with have been committed to providing the highest quality services they can while taking into account the time, budget or scope limitations on any given project. I love working with and sharing the wealth with them as we grow our business.