The hype of National Small Business Week May have ended May 5th, but Linda McMahon and the SBA have not stopped working. The agency provides access to training and mentoring programs like SCORE, assistance in exporting, and is a vital link to funding for startups and growing companies. Commenting from the 2018 SBA awards in Washington, McMahon says, “My goal is to help more of our nation’s small business owners be aware of the resources available to them through the SBA. We want more entrepreneurs to think of the SBA as the go-to resource for access to capital, valuable resources, business know-how, and the right expertise for each stage of their business lifecycle. That’s how we can continue to help power the engine of our economy.”
Business is tough enough so don’t second guess yourself when it comes to taking advantage of certain government incentive programs. There are certain groups identified by the feds that get priority when applying for government contracts. One of them is women. Rebecca Fyffe, founder of a Chicago-area pest control business, is one such example. The SBA helped Fyffe access federal contracts to service government buildings, and even connected her to an engineer who mentored her on reading the buildings’ blueprints and hiring employees with the right skill set, with such success earning Fyffe the 2018 Small Business Person of the Year.
It really is amazing that almost half of the private workforce in the U.S. works for a small business, and small businesses create two out of every three net new jobs in the private sector each year. With statistics like these, one wonders why the budget for the SBA continues to be cut. Its fresh capital that is needed to fuel the growth of these small companies, and by being a loan guarantor, the SBA provides a vital function for this growth. The SBA is the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government. You would have to imagine that this is a result of lack of capital on behalf of small businesses to lobby Washington, and maintain private sector advocates. Anyone who has been a small business person realizes that this type of extra effort is usually not in their business plan. Perhaps the SBA should allocate some of its funding to organize beyond its mandate, and try to level the very uneven playing field for small businesses.
With two out of three new jobs being created by small businesses in America, President Trump might be interested in photo ops with a myriad of mom and pop businesses, instead of wearing a hard hat at a factory that will hire 100 people in the future. It is amazing that politicians give lip service to this hugely important factor in economic growth and development.
According to the National Federation of Individual Businesses, April data suggests growth and optimism by small business owners. Record levels of job openings are leading businesses to expand. However, one of the issues facing these entrepreneurs is finding the right hire for the job. With unemployment at record lows, industries like construction and manufacturing are struggling to find employees. According to NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg, “Shortages of qualified workers are clearly holding back economic growth.” This hits home, because this is a problem you ostensibly can do something about as an entrepreneur, unlike taxes and regulations, which use to top the list of concerns of business owners.