What Is A Micro Business?

Demystifying Micro business: Your Guide to Small-Scale Success

Micro businesses play a significant role in the United States economy, contributing to job creation and economic growth. In this article, we will explore the number of micro businesses in the United States, the tax advantages and disadvantages they enjoy, the number of employees typically found in a micro business, whether there is an annual sales cap, the pros and cons of a micro business, and how to start or buy a micro business.

A micro business is a type of small business that typically has fewer than five employees or as many as ten. It is often a one-person operation or a very small team, and it operates on a small scale. Micro businesses are characterized by their low start-up costs, minimal infrastructure, and limited market reach. Despite their small size, micro businesses play a significant role in the economy, contributing to job creation and innovation. 

While every micro business is, by definition, a small business, not every small business is a micro business. In the United States, the term "small business" is defined by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”), which sets specific criteria based on industry and revenue. The SBA's definition considers various factors such as the average number of employees and annual revenue to classify a business as small. These criteria can vary depending on the industry, and it is essential for business owners to consult the SBA guidelines to determine if their business qualifies as small.

Unlike some business classifications, there is no specific annual sales cap for micro-businesses in the United States, although some sources set it as low as $250,000, but not as much as $1,000,000. Instead, the classification is primarily based on the number of employees, the industry, and the overall structure of the business. As mentioned earlier, micro businesses are generally characterized by having a small workforce, regardless of their annual revenue.

As of 2020, the United States is home to a substantial number of micro businesses. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), there are an estimated 30.7 million small businesses in the country, and out of these, around 89% are considered micro businesses. This means that there are approximately 27.3 million micro businesses operating across various industries.

PROS of a micro business:

1. Low start-up costs

One of the main advantages of starting a micro business is the low initial investment required. With minimal overhead costs and the ability to operate from home, entrepreneurs can start a micro business with only a small amount of capital.

2. Flexibility: 

Micro businesses offer entrepreneurs the advantage of flexibility. As the sole owner or with a small team, you have the freedom to set your own schedule, work from anywhere, and make decisions quickly without the need for extensive bureaucratic processes.

3. Close customer relationships: 

Micro Businesses often serve a niche market or a specific local community. This allows for personalized and close customer relationships, which can lead to loyal customers and word-of-mouth referrals.

4. Quick adaptability: 

Being small and nimble, micro businesses can respond quickly to market trends and adapt their products or services accordingly. This flexibility enables them to stay competitive and meet changing customer demands more efficiently than larger businesses.

CONS of a micro business:

1. Limited resources

One of the main challenges for a micro business is the lack of resources. Limited funding, manpower, and technological capabilities can restrict growth potential and limit the ability to compete with larger businesses.

2. Financial instability

Due to their small scale, micro businesses may face financial instability, especially during the early stages. Cash flow issues, unpredictable market conditions, and a lack of financial reserves can pose significant challenges.

3. Limited market reach

Micro Businesses often serve a local or niche market, which limits their customer base. Expanding beyond these boundaries can be challenging due to limited resources and the need for additional investments.

Need advice on starting or buying a micro business? Talk to our experts at BizBen.

How to start or buy a micro business in the United States:

1. Identify your passion and skills

Start by identifying your interests, skills, and expertise. Consider what type of micro business aligns with your strengths and what you are passionate about.

2. Research the market and competition

Conduct thorough market research to understand the demand, competition, and potential profitability of the micro business you are considering. Analyze the target market, customer preferences, and existing competitors.

3. Develop a business plan

Create a comprehensive business plan outlining your goals, marketing & sales strategies, financial projections, and operational functions. This plan will serve as a roadmap for your micro business and will be essential when seeking financing or investors.

4. Secure funding

Determine the financial requirements of starting or buying a micro business. Explore funding options such as personal savings, home equity, and other loans, grants, or investors. Consider consulting with a financial advisor or an SBA lender for guidance on available funding resources.

5. Register your business

Choose a business name and register your micro business with the appropriate state and federal agencies. Obtain any necessary licenses or permits required for your specific industry.

6. Set up operations 

Establish the necessary infrastructure for your micro business, including setting up a physical location or creating a digital presence. Develop a marketing strategy to promote your products or services and attract customers.

7. Consider buying an existing micro business

Instead of starting from scratch, you may also explore the option of buying an existing micro business. This can provide you with less risk, an established customer base, proven systems, market presence, immediate positive cash flow, potentially faster profitability, and often an experienced business owner to train and mentor you.  Always conduct due diligence and seek professional advice when considering a business acquisition. It is always prudent to use the services of an experienced, reputable business broker.

Starting or buying a micro business in the United States requires careful planning, research, and determination. While there are challenges associated with operating a micro business, the potential rewards of flexibility, low start-up costs, and close customer relationships make it an attractive option for many entrepreneurs.

Are you looking to buy a micro business? Explore our business marketplace to grab the perfect business opportunity.

Tax Advantages and Disadvantages of Micro Businesses

Micro Businesses in the United States enjoy several tax advantages that can help them thrive. One significant advantage is the ability to choose from different tax structures, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and S corporations. These structures offer flexibility in terms of taxation and liability.

Additionally, micro business owners can often claim various tax deductions and credits. Some common deductions include home office expenses, business-related travel and meals, health insurance premiums, and retirement plan contributions. These tax benefits can help reduce the overall tax burden for micro business owners.

However, there are also certain tax disadvantages that micro businesses may face. For example, self-employment taxes, which include both the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes, can be higher for micro business owners compared to individuals working for an employer. Additionally, micro businesses may have to comply with complex tax regulations and reporting requirements, which can be challenging for owners without extensive accounting knowledge.


Micro businesses are a vital part of the United States economy, accounting for an overwhelmingly significant portion of small businesses. They offer unique tax advantages and disadvantages, many “pros” and many “cons,” usually have a small number of employees, and are defined based on factors such as industry and revenue by the SBA. Understanding the characteristics and regulations surrounding micro businesses is crucial for entrepreneurs looking to establish or operate a successful small-scale enterprise in the United States.

To reiterate, buying an existing micro business may be the best route rather than starting from scratch. An existing business may offer greater security and less risk, an established customer base, proven systems, market presence, immediate positive cash flow, potentially faster profitability, and an experienced owner to train and mentor you. It is always prudent to use the services of an experienced, reputable business broker when considering a business purchase.

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Tim Cunha has five decades of entrepreneurial experience in various fields, including the design and manufacture of computer graphics software and hardware systems, instrument manufacturing, Defense contracting, biotech/pharma, publishing, distribution, and retail.

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