This issue of the magazine focuses on small businesses in Guam and the Northern Mariana islands.
In what is our first-ever and extensive survey of small businesses and their attitudes to the economy we asked them 20 questions. These included questions on perennial challenges small businesses face, but also the current preoccupations of any business. The difference between large and small businesses is of course that many of the groups that do business in our islands have more than one line of business to keep them afloat. Small businesses must develop their own resources or seek financial support to keep themselves in the black.
Proven resources for small businesses include the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Small Business Development Center, and our civic organizations that provide valuable training and development for their members.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy’s latest report – from the 2020 Census – shows that Guam had 3,425 business establishments employing 61,114 people. Establishments with fewer than 20 employees accounted for 26.7% of employment, and establishments with 20 to 99 employees accounted for 35.4% of employment. Total employment in Guam rose by 2.4% from 2019.
The NMI had 1,614 business establishments employing 17,248 people. Establishments with fewer than 20 employees accounted for 37.7% of employment, and establishments with 20 to 99 employees accounted for 25.9% of employment. Total employment fell by 6.6% from 2019.
Retail, as well as accommodation and food services lead the industries of small businesses in both islands, with construction at third place in Guam and real estate and rental leasing at third place in the NMI.
As word of the small business survey got around, we received several requests from small businesses that wanted to participate and have their say. We were happy to oblige.
This will be a year of surveys. In the July-August issue we looked at the Best Companies to Work For, surveying employees and HR professionals on benefits and communication and more. We also partnered for that feature with the Society for Human Resource Management’s Guam Chapter. In the November-December issue we will present the Bank of Guam ASC Trust list of Top Companies in Micronesia and analyses of the economic factors that currently govern us.
The saying “Knowledge is power” may not make the best of reading for you in the current economic climates of the islands. Our tourism industries fall short of 2019 visitor arrival figures, and challenges include labor shortages, wage inflation and the supply chain.
We can still see the results of Typhoon Mawar, which hit Guam in May. And so resources post-Typhoon Mawar also include the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as a program of SBA loans.
But small businesses are resilient and while some fell by the wayside during the pandemic, many soldiered on with a belief in the future, and continue to do business. Like other small businesses, at Glimpses of Guam – the magazine’s parent company – we appreciate your support. Thank you for your participation in Guam Business Magazine and outreach for promotion of your businesses. We certainly plan to continue to find creative ways to engage readers and present your marketing endeavors.
Maureen N. Maratita is the publisher at Glimpses Media. Publications at Glimpses Media include the Marianas Business Journal, MBJ Life, The Real Estate Journal, Guam Business Magazine, Beach Road Magazine, Buenas and Drive Guam.