What Are the Characteristics of a Small Scale Business?

by Samantha Hanly - Updated September 26, 2017
Small-scale businesses rely on person-to-person contact.

Entrepreneurs and those who work for small businesses tend to enjoy doing a variety of tasks, and are generally flexible people. With low sales volume and high dependence upon people and labor, the atmosphere and workplace culture in a small business contrasts with those in a large, well-funded corporation.


In the Small Business Act, a small business is defined as "one that is independently owned and operated and which is not dominant in its field of operation." The Small Business Administration (SBA) has formulated specific size standards for businesses in different industries; in order to qualify for SBA business loans, a business must meet the specifications.


Small businesses usually have much smaller capital that larger enterprises. The term "shoe-string budget" refers to businesses that operate under very tight budgets. Small businesses are sometimes run out of a room in the business owner's home; this cuts the cost of renting office space.

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Workplace Culture

Small businesses have fewer employees. Employees of small businesses are less specialized than in larger businesses. In larger enterprises, employees have specific job descriptions, but in small businesses employees are more often expected to help with a variety of tasks, because there are fewer people to do everything. Some personalities prefer the flexibility that working for a small business may require.

About the Author

Samantha Hanly is an organic vegetable gardener, greenhouse gardener and home canner. She grows a substantial portion of her family's food every year. After receiving her bachelor's degree, Hanly embarked on a career teaching dramatic arts, arts and crafts, and languages. She became a professional writer in 2000, writing curricula for use in classrooms and libraries.

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