The term “Small Business” brings to mind an image that is dependent upon an individual’s background. To some, it may be a one-person business, maybe a local business, or only a few employees.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “2018 Small Business Profile”, there are 30.2 million small businesses in the United States which, by the way, comprise 99.9% of all the businesses in the United States. Also, those small businesses employ 58.9 million employees which is 47.5% of the private workforce in the United States.

Typically the U.S. Small Business Administration defines a small business as an organization with fewer than 500 employees and not a governmental entity.

The following table is from the 2018 Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Business Profile and shows the number of small businesses by industry and number of employees. So, the organizations that are single person entrepreneurships are by far the most prevalent.

Industry 1-499 Employees 1-20 Employees No employees Total Small Firms
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services 796,737 747,952 3,410,855 4,207,592
Other Services (except Public Administration) 680,783 635,810 3,695,012 4,375,795
Construction 668,196 615,701 2,430,014 3,098,210
Health Care and Social Assistance 652,900 569,088 1,978,850 2,631,750
Retail Trade 650,133 594,267 1,985,553 2,635,686
Accommodation and Food Services 515,566 401,142 371,413 886,979
Administrative, Support, and Waste Management 331,964 295,202 2,069,144 2,401,108
Wholesale Trade 304,031 262,019 417,272 721,303
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing 290,173 277,338 2,635,780 2,925,953
Manufacturing 247,961 187,862 355,467 603,428
Finance and Insurance 235,726 218,939 718,472 954,198
Transportation and Warehousing 177,150 157,974 1,528,264 1,705,414
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation 122,089 106,357 1,341,733 1,463,822
Educational Services 88,826 70,210 710,383 799,209
Information 73,028 63,321 328,995 402,023
Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction 21,657 18,157 98,134 119,791
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing and Hunting 21,584 20,210 236,094 257,678
Utilities 5,706 4,493 19,968 25,674
TOTAL 5,881,267 5,265,682 24,331,403 30,212,670

The SBA also has this information broken down by state at the following URL:

https://www.sba.gov/advocacy/small-business-profiles-states-and-territories-2016