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Small firms deserve a place at economic development table

Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion investment can be maximized by including small businesses in Western New York’s economic development. As they are 98 percent of the economic power of New York State and Western New York, it is essential to assure their success.

Small-business owners live here, spend money here and remain here. Targeting small firms is not as dramatic as attracting a large firm, but the results are bigger and better. Hundred-fold gains in jobs and taxes can be generated for about a thousand dollars in strategic assistance for small firms. Additionally, local support will convince more entrepreneurs to remain here and grow their businesses here.

Encouraging entrepreneurial enterprise should not, however, discourage large firms from settling here, as a proper balance of industry is essential for a sustainable economy. Besides, large firms spawn the growth of small companies that supply essential goods and services.

Simply encouraging entrepreneurial growth is not enough. Without appropriate training in strategic planning and marketing, the potential gains will not materialize. Business owners must learn to become market leaders producing innovative products and services that customers will want to buy. Profit is essential, but it is secondary to acquiring customers.

Most small firms are struggling to survive and most fail. Because small firms are usually privately owned, their failure rate is hidden from public view. Although there are many services currently supporting small firms, the high failure rate is not declining.

With the right strategic guidance that focuses on total enterprise performance, this failure rate could be reduced and profits increased.

Bob Deneen

Amherst