What defines a “small workplace” or small business? That question isn’t easy to answer. The Small Business Association (SBA) has standards in place for what a small business is that are designed to protect the culture of small businesses and ensure that the term retains its meaning and value. Small business standards aren’t simple or one-size-fits-all; small business criteria changes based on industry, earnings, and other factors.
Many manufacturing businesses are only considered small businesses if they have fewer than 500 employees. At the same time, an insurance carrier can have up to 1,500 employees and still be considered small. The sliding scale of what constitutes a small business extends to revenue. For instance, a farm or agricultural business can be defined as small if it earns under $750,000 in an average year. Construction companies can still qualify as small businesses if they are earning under $36.5 million each year.
Defining what “small business” means is difficult—and determining which of these companies are the “best” small workplaces in the country is even harder. There are so many factors at play, from salaries to benefits to company culture, that crowning one small business the best place to work is a near-impossible task, especially since most businesses in the U.S. fit the “small business” label.
Using recent lists of top small workplaces from sources such as Fortune, Great Place to Work, and the American Psychological Association, we take a look at what makes a great small business work.