What others say: A virtuous cycle

Statistics suggest that running a small business isn’t easy.

Jennifer Clark, a regional advocate with the U.S. Small Business Administration, said Thursday in Ketchikan that seven of 10 small businesses will remain in business after two years. After five years, only 50 percent are operating, and, after a decade, the doors of just one-third of all small businesses are still open.

Still, despite what appears to be long odds against long-term success, small businesses continue to be the backbone of the American economy.

According to Clark and SBA Region X Administrator Calvin Goings, small businesses account for half of the U.S. private sector workforce and 43 percent of the private payrolls.

“Small businesses create about two-thirds of all new net jobs in the U.S., “ Goings told a group gathered at the Ketchikan Small Business Development Center.

As Clark added later, “with numbers like these, you can see why the health of the small business is truly critical to the health of our overall economy.”

Clark, Goings and SBA Alaska District Director Sam Dickey were visiting Ketchikan as part of National Small Business Week. More specifically, they came to honor Renee Schofield, the owner of Ketchikan-based TSS Inc. owner who has received the Alaska Small Business Person of the Year Award for 2015.

Schofield is a worthy recipient, having seen Tongass Substance Screening grow from a one-person operation in 12 feet by 12 feet space in 1999 to a company that now has 13 employees and offices in Ketchikan, Juneau and Craig — in addition to Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.

TSS has beaten the odds. Statistics indicate that a mere 24 percent of companies are still open 15 years after starting.

Schofield cited the support of the Ketchikan community as a factor.

“I’ve had great success because of that, because of the willingness of everybody to step up,” she said Thursday, citing prompt response and assistance from other local businesses. “We in Ketchikan are very fortunate to have those kinds of relationships.”

She also pointed to assistance from the SBA and the Small Business Development Center over the years, even during the start up of another business prior to TSS.

Our “takeaways” from this are that small business is crucial to the U.S. economy, and, as evidenced by TSS, success is possible.

It’s not easy, as any small business person can attest, but there is quality help available. A prudent business person is wise to use the assistance available here in Ketchikan.

Finally, community support is key to the success of most small business. In turn, the success of our small businesses helps build our community.

It’s a virtuous cycle that can benefit everyone.

— Ketchikan Daily News,

May 8

More in Opinion

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Voices of the Peninsula: All votes matter

In the beginning, only property-holding white men could vote.

Cristen San Roman. (Photo provided)
Point of View: Is management of Cook Inlet catered to special interest groups?

If these fish are so at risk, why is BOEM able to move forward with lease sale 258?

Homer Foundation
Point of View: Grateful for the hidden ‘good’

Gratitude: Noun The state of being grateful; thankfulness. The state or quality… Continue reading

Homer High School Principal Douglas Waclawski. (Photo provided)
Point of View: What is Homer High School about?

What I consider Homer High’s strength is that we are a place for learning.

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell. (courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: Invent your future at UAA

At UAA we’re providing the tools to help students of all ages and skills chart a new course forward.

A registered nurse prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at the pop-up clinic on the Spit on May 27. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Alaska Voices: Vaccination is the still best protection from COVID-19

The Alaska State Medical Association encourages you to protect yourselves and your community from preventable illness by getting recommended vaccines.

(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
The sad diminishment of Rep. Don Young

Young seems afraid to demand his party leader defend the dignity of the institution he loves.

A “Vote Here” sign is seen at the City of Kenai building on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Alaska Voices: Restore our strong campaign donation limits

Without campaign spending limits, the ideal of one person, one vote is no longer really true.

The Final Redistricting Map approved for the Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna area is seen on Nov. 9, 2021. (Map via akredistrict.org)
Alaska Voices: The Alaska Redistricting Board’s last-minute gerrymandering failed Alaska

Our Constitution outlines rules for a redistricting process designed to uphold public trust.

This photo shows the trans-Alaska pipeline and pump station north of Fairbanks. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)
Alaska Voices: The permanent fund has been taking care of Alaskans for 45 years

It’s the largest sovereign wealth fund in the nation, the pride of Alaska and this month we celebrate its 45th anniversary.

Dr. Tom Hennessy, MD, MPH (Courtesy)
Voices of the Peninsula: Don’t take medical advice from politicians, athletes or social media

Evidence leads to consensus among medical doctors: Vaccines are the best way to prevent infection.

The Entrance to the University of Alaska Southeast. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The University of Alaska is the state’s most important resource

Together, let’s break the record for donor participation.