Small business is big in Arizona. It is both an economic force and an important employment producer, and comprises 97 percent of all businesses in the state. Contributing to this is the level of entrepreneurship here. In recent years, Arizona has been ranked by such respected sources as the Kauffman Foundation and Fast Company as the No. 1 state for entrepreneurial activity. Small business populates every industry sector.
Many small businesses are taking the improving economy as the perfect time to reevaluate themselves. Growing isn’t always the key to success for every small business. Bigger isn’t better — but making sure the business is evolving can guarantee it will remain relevant with its customers. Growth needs to be the result of a well-planned and executed strategy. I’ve seen fast-growing businesses outgrow their cash flow and fail.
The small business that is constantly pushing the envelope and wowing its customers with something new is the one that will succeed and thrive. “New” is not always a new product or service, but may perhaps be creative ways of improving the customer experience. Many of these businesses are executing their plan, not to grow but to maintain their current size because they have reached an apex where their profits are the highest. They might not be growing in size, but they are certainly evolving. Most of all, they are relevant to their customers, and that is what fuels success.
Challenges to some small businesses include distinguishing themselves in the neighborhood where they are located. While some look to the possibility of growth in adding new locations, others focus on building up business at their one location. For his cover story, “Staying Alive: What It Takes to Be a Thriving Neighborhood Business,” Eric Jay Toll chose a cross-section of small businesses and spoke with the owners of retail establishments, restaurants and service enterprises about their experience and strategies for adapting to the changing economy.
Laws regarding hiring employees is the focus of this month’s “Legal” feature. In Business Magazine editor RaeAnne Marsh delves into laws as well as directives from the federal level that place requirements and limits on an employer’s hiring practices. ”By the Numbers” also touches on employment as it examines the impact of clean energy on jobs in Arizona.
In this issue’s “Leadership” article, Rich Karlgaard looks at conflict in the C-suite as he provides insights on how companies can deal with conflict between chief marketing officers and chief information officers. And keeping a crisis from becoming a catastrophe is the focus of the “Roundtable” article by David Wimer.
This July issue of In Business Magazine also includes the 2014 edition of its “Top 50 Small Business Resources Guide,” compiled of companies focused on serving local small businesses and promoting their growth in our community.
It has been my pleasure to be involved in this “Small Business” issue of In Business Magazine, which has become a valuable resource for business throughout Greater Phoenix and beyond.
Chief Executive Officer
Arizona Small Business Association
Rick Murray has a wide and varied background, from many entrepreneurial endeavors to serving as CEO of a $30-million company. He credits his tremendous success in each to developing relationships with businesses and individuals for mutual success and surrounding himself with a team of people who believe in a common goal. AS CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association, Murray leads a team of professionals that help small businesses make money, save money and keep more of their hard-earned money though educational programs and discounted products and services as well as advocacy.