This report compiles findings from focus groups and roundtable discussions with rural small business owners and other small business stakeholders in four states, as well as the results of a national poll of rural small business owners. The report also features recommendations for policymakers and service providers to increase opportunities for rural entrepreneurs.
On Small Business Saturday we’re all encouraged to “shop small,” which is great for the millions of small companies in California and elsewhere. But how many people think about helping small businesses beyond that one day? We should, because we can do more to assist small firms than just buying holiday gifts from them—we can also help them invest in energy efficiency.
Small businesses are one of the most respected constituencies in the country, and certainly one of the most courted by policymakers in Washington. However, small businesses are also a group that legislators and the general public understand little about—the very smallest ones, especially. Those businesses are known as “micro businesses.”
Small businesses have become a key weapon in politicians’ arsenals when arguing for practically any policy that has an economic impact. Policies associated with the current tax debate are no exception. Countless rounds of legislative battles have been and will continue to be fought over whether small businesses will be hurt if tax breaks for high income earners are allowed to expire at the end of 2012.
For the second time since the summer of 2011, Congress is debating whether or not to raise the federal debt ceiling—the legal limit on how much the federal government can borrow. While addressing our debt is an important issue that carries weight for small business and the economy, some politicians have been misusing the debt ceiling as a mechanism for furthering their own partisan agendas. Short-term solutions lead to uncertainty for small businesses and our job creators want our leaders to put this issue to rest.
Small business owners are suffering from weak sales and decreased customer demand, and on top of that, a lack of access to credit. It is difficult for small business owners to access the credit that will help them grow, hire and jumpstart the economy. Our new opinion polling shows an overwhelming 90% of small business owners nationwide agree the availability of credit for small businesses is a problem, and 61% agree it’s harder to get a loan now than it was four years ago.
As small business owners prepare to close the books on 2012, our country is fast approaching the edge of what’s been dubbed the “fiscal cliff.” This critical situation—created by a host of tax cuts set to expire at the end of 2012, coupled with billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts that will be triggered if Congress and the president can’t agree on a way to reduce the deficit by year’s end—has dire consequences for small businesses. Many of the tax provisions set to expire benefit small businesses and the middle class, small businesses’ core customer base.
April is often associated with spring cleaning and reorganizing, which means you finally made the time go through that overflowing junk drawer or to organize last year’s financial statements for the tax filing deadline. But when it comes to your finances, you can use this time to do more than just file your tax return documents thanks to the resources provided as part of National Financial Literacy Month.
Entrepreneurs are a vital component of a thriving American economy. Indeed, small businesses represent 99% of all employer firms and account for half of our nation’s jobs and economic output, and their creativity spurs innovation in all sectors of the economy. That’s why it’s important to take time to appreciate our country’s entrepreneurs during November, which is National Entrepreneurship Month.