What is the Definition of a Small Business? The Answer May Surprise You

All you need is some basic equipment required to service air conditioners and skilled manpower who can perform the tasks. Acquiring skills in maintenance and repair of air conditioners- especially window and split types- is fairly easy.

small onlie business ideas

Definition of Small Business by Industry

  • Retail Bakeries: There’s no SBA listing for the average annual receipts for small business here. However, you’re allowed up to 500 employees while still being classified as small.
  • Drywall and Insulation Contractors: You can stay small with this business and still make good money. Dry wall and insulation contractors can make up to $16.5 million in average annual receipts and still be considered small.
  • Logging: To qualify as a small business, there needs to be under 500 employees. However logging companies can make up to 800 million dollars and still be classified as small.
  • Hardware Manufacturing: There are no average annual income numbers listed by the SBA. However, a hardware manufacturer can employee up to 750 people and still be considered small. Remember, where there are no average annual earnings listed, the number of employees is used to define a small business’s status.
  • Beef Cattle Farming: You can make up to 800 million in average annual receipts and still be qualified as a small business here.
  • Residential Remodelers: The amount of money you can make here while still being considered a small business is considerably higher. You can make up to $39.5 million in this industry. These small businesses thrive when new home sales go down.
  • Tortilla Manufacturing: There are many different industries and categories listed by the SBA under the definitions for small business. The number of employees you can have to qualify is high for this industry at 1,250.
  • Machine Shops: This is a common small business. The SBA can help you open one of these with a loan. The requirements for employees is higher than some of the other small businesses listed here. You can employee up to 500 and still be considered small in this space.
  • Roofing Contractors: This is another small business with high numbers. The average annual receipts here can go as high as $16.5 million. There are quite a few of these home related industries listed.
  • Framing Contractors: This is just such an example. The SBA definition of small business here has a $16.5 million ceiling too.


Affiliates are companies exhibiting control over other companies by owning a significant stake in the other business. Though this interest is generally less than 50 percent, it is enough to allow one company to control another. This might happen by an affiliate being able to influence another company’s decisions or policy because of its stake in the company. However, the affiliate may also exhibit negative control over another company by blocking decisions in another company’s favor.

This is important because the SBA takes all a company’s affiliates into consideration when determining whether it qualifies as a small business. A company may qualify as a small business on its own but when counting up the employees and receipts of all its affiliates, this may no longer be the case.

Annual Receipts

A company’s annual receipts, usually calculated as an average over three to five years, helps the SBA decide whether a company qualifies as a small business. The threshold of annual receipts under which a company is considered a small business varies by industry as seen above.

Employee Statistics

Employee statistics simply refer to the average number of full time employees a company has on the books. The average is generally calculated per pay period. Where a company’s average number of employees falls depending on its industry will generally determine whether it is considered a small business by the SBA.

What is the IRS Definition of a Small Business?

The IRS defines small businesses differently. The agency starts by defining what it considers to be businesses in general. According to the IRS, businesses of any kind are an activity carried out to make a profit. Different situations determine whether they look at these as a trade or business for tax purposes. You don’t need to make a profit to be on their radar. However, you need to show that you are making an ongoing effort to make it successful.

Here’s another important point about small businesses according to the IRS. You don’t need to work at your business full time. The IRS wants to know if you’ve got a part time business — even if you’ve got a full-time job and are running your business on the side.

The IRS doesn’t use standard sizes to classify businesses either. Here’s a few things you need to know about their tax system — and how this takes the place of standard sizes. Remember, every business needs to pay taxes. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in.

Sole Proprietorship

Like the name suggests, a sole proprietorship is a business owned by one person. These small businesses are quite often self-employed people. Here’s a list of some of the tax forms you’d need to fill out. If you fit into this category, you’ll need to drill down a little further. That means deciding whether you’re an independent contractor or in business by yourself. Here’s some more information that can help.


A partnership is another business category recognized by the IRS. Simply put, this is a small business arrangement between two or more people. Under the IRS rules, a married couple can classify a business they share as a partnership. It just can’t be incorporated.

A Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Corporations As Small Businesses

The IRS definition of small businesses also includes C corporations and S corporations. There are certain tax requirements with both. For example, a C corporation is usually taxed as an entity separate from its owners while an S corporation does not pay income tax. Instead, income passes through to the owners who pay the taxes out of their own personal incomes.

Reasons for the Failure of Small Business

Inadequate management

Shortage of working capital

Small businesses, with a small capital base, faces a shortage of working capital to maintain a desirable level of operation. It also thwarts its expansion and its capacity to avail profitable opportunities.

Lack of balance

The significant reasons for such imbalance arc the lack of coordination between production and marketing, lack of proper record-keeping, lack of effective selling techniques, lack of coping with the increasing complexity of internal management, and lack of balance between having too few products so that sales are lost and diversifying too fast.

Unabated entry

Lack of business experience

Small business run by people without prior industry experience is vulnerable to failure. People with any track record start small businesses and could not cope with operational problems and crises. Inexperience in a fine of operation makes decisions faulty and disastrous to the organizational continuity.

Fraud or Disaster

Small business is vulnerable to many situations due to its inability to 10 sustain the damage. It may be caused by fraud, by fire, flood, burglary, criminal act, or by the death of owner-manager or a key person of the business. It affects its continuity in the market or sometimes causes the death of the firm.

Insufficient inventory turnover

Improper markup

It sometimes does not cover the expected rates of return necessary for maintaining the financial strengths of the firm. It is observed that small firms that fail, they fail because of insufficient return on their investment.

Wrong location

Location is one of the fundamental reasons for the success and failure of small businesses. A common saying is that “the three most important factors in a small business success arc location, location, and locator.

Location is more vital in some industries than in others depending on whether customers must travel to the entrepreneur’s place of business or the entrepreneur must travel to customers, whether the business offers a unique product or service with little competition, or even on whether convenience is a key selling point.

Poor credit-granting practice

Non-business family background


Too much investment in fixed assets

Marketing inefficiency

Inefficient succession

Leek of planning

50 Most Profitable Small Business Ideas in 2022

small business ideas

Should you possess some special skills, you can definitely start your own small business with low investment. While some such small business ideas can be operated from your home, in other cases, you may need to lease small premises.

small business ideas

Funding small business: Generally, small businesses begin with whatever little capital you may have . Loans on very soft terms are also offered by community organizations and cooperative credit societies. You may consider procuring a loan to fund your small business idea.

Further, acquaint yourself well with your prospective competitors and their offerings. Talk to people you trust and seek advise if necessary. Additionally, build a database of your prospective customers before launch.