We have so many things to be thankful for here in New Hampshire: plenty of natural resources from the ocean to the lakes, rivers, and majestic mountains, all within close proximity. One thing we don’t talk about as often is our local small businesses, and today is Small Business Saturday! The US Small Business Association (SBA) defines a small business as having 500 employees or less.
The towns and cities throughout the Lakes Region offer a wide variety of small businesses which create the fabric of our communities. You don’t have to look far to find the goods and services you need from accounting, banking, automotive & boating industries to healthcare, legal, insurance, education, storage, energy, heating, residential & commercial construction, and all of its trades. The hospitality industry, tourist attractions, and real estate, which I have been fortunate to be associated with for 46 years. It’s so important that we shop local and support all of the local businesses to create a thriving economy.
The NH Lakes Region Tourism Association (lakesregion.org) is a comprehensive organization that does a phenomenal job of promoting all of our local businesses. The Greater Lakes Region Chamber offers a wealth of resources (Lakesregionchamber.org) together with the Meredith Chamber (meredithareachamber.com), Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce (wolfeborochamber.com), and many other chamber organizations throughout the region. The Belknap Economic Development Council (belknapedc.org) is committed to building a sustainable economic future for Belknap County by providing business development resources and funding for the multitude of businesses throughout the region.
Support Local — Lakes Region NH on Facebook is one example of a group for local small businesses to network with other local small businesses.
Here in New Hampshire, we have 137,811 small businesses, making up 99% of all New Hampshire Businesses. Nearly half of all New Hampshire employees (49.8%) work at a small business, according to Statistics of U.S. Businesses (Census). These small businesses employ over 304,765 employees.
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services are the leading industries for New Hampshire small businesses, with 21,207 or 15.38% of small businesses. Construction (20,484), Real Estate, Rental and Leasing (14,906), Other Services (except Public Administration) (13,716), and Retail Trade (12,595) are New Hampshire small businesses’ second, third, fourth, and fifth leading industries.
85.3% of businesses that export goods in New Hampshire are small businesses exporting goods worth $1.8 billion from 2018-2019. There are 2,181 small business exporters that are responsible for 31.3% of New Hampshire’s $5.6 billion in export revenue.
New Hampshire Business Demographics:
Women make up 47.6% of workers and 40% of business owners.
Veterans make up 6.2% of workers and 8.7% of business owners.
Racial minorities make up 5.1% of workers and 3% of business owners.
I’ve always felt that New Hampshire is one of New England’s most business-friendly states. For example:
- The state has a low tax burden with no sales or income tax (and the absence of at least half a dozen other taxes.)
- The unemployment rate in New Hampshire for October 2023 was 2.1%, the 5th lowest in the country.
- New Hampshire is also ranked second in the nation for access to funding.
- In September 2023, New Hampshire registered the second-highest average credit score in the country at 726, just 1 point lower than Minnesota.
- New Hampshire’s median household income for 2023 is $88,235, ranking it the third highest in the United States according to World Populations Review.
- New Hampshire also has the highest economic security of any state and boasts the lowest poverty rate in the country.
- Education attainment is also one of the highest in the country, ranked 6th nationally.
- New Hampshire was recently ranked again as the #1 state in the country for overall freedom by the Cato Institute. New Hampshire has helped this crown for the past 11 years. Additionally, New Hampshire was ranked #1 for overall economic freedom in the same report by the Cato Institute.
In New Hampshire, it was reported by WMUR that 85% of all businesses in the state are family-owned, an impressive statistic. It just shows the entrepreneurial spirit and tenacity of our state.
So, in New Hampshire and the Lakes Region, we have so much to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving weekend. Even though the Granite State is the 5th smallest state in the country and the 9the smallest in population at 1,415,656, our state packs a powerful punch!
This article was written by Frank Roche. Frank is president of Roche Realty Group with offices in Meredith and Laconia, NH, and can be reached at (603) 279-7046. Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market.