What 2010 Mid-Term Elections Mean For Small Businesses

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I know you voted yesterday, as did I. And even though all the final tallies are not in, I’m sure you are aware that the Republicans won back the House of Representatives, and the Democrats retained control of the Senate, by a slim majority.

I am anything but a political commentator, but here’s my short take on what this may mean for small businesses, and in particular for small cosmetics manufacturers looking to see what may or may not happen with HR 5786.

In my experience, Republicans are less likely, and Democrats are more likely, to pass legislation that makes it harder rather than easier for small companies to thrive and grow.

Having said that, while no politician on either side of the aisle will proactively support legislation that “dumps” on family and “mom-and-pop”-owned businesses, I don’t see anyone doing anything to proactively and specifically support long-term conditions that pave the way for tiny companies to thrive.

Obama’s administration has taken the position that the big banks and other Wall Street insiders must be bailed out and fixed (or whatever you want to call it) first. My understanding from my meeting with the head of the Democratic National Committee in September is that the second part of this plan is the creation of tax cuts and small business loan funding, the beginning of which I suppose was the Small Business Jobs Act.

Speaking of the Small Business Jobs Act, I am excited that IBN member Candy Sweeney of Nakee Natural procured a $10,000 loan resulting from the recently signed Small Business Jobs Act. But as I’ve said before, it’s not solely lack of financial resources that prevent INDIEs from owning profitable ventures. It’s the crazy patchwork quilt of rules and regulations that strangle them and leave them drowning in so much paperwork that it almost defeats the purpose of running a business of any kind.

As excited as I am for Candy, the truth is that a one-time loan funding program (which really means that big business tax increases are literally funding the growth of small businesses — but that’s another blog post) is a one-time program. It is not a long-term strategy that creates a solid landscape upon which small businesses can base future plans and strategies.

I think the Obama administration’s strategy to take care of the big guys first and the little guys second contributed to yesterday’s results. That, and the “hidden” health care provision requiring businesses to issue a 1099 form to everyone from whom they buy more than $600 in goods or services in a tax year. (See report from here by CNN Money.)

What Does All Of This Mean?

I don’t know really, but what I do know is that as we look to 2011, we also look to the fact that there are still not enough jobs to go around. In my opinion, there never will be, and the sooner we all accept that (for ourselves and our children), the better.

What we need to accept is that for those who cannot find a job, or who don’t want one because the available options don’t suit them (as was the case for me when I started my business), the answer is entrepreneurship. The answer is to leverage your assets: your background, your education, your reading experiences, your friends, your credit history, your tenacity, the energy of your youth, and all of your other assets to create a business that can secure your future and the future of coming generations.

I look forward to continuing to work with elected officials and policy makers to create a small business friendly landscape. One that regulates only when necessary to protect the public good, and one that is coordinated at the local, state and federal levels to prevent unintended consequences such as those depicted in this video about why Chuck can’t get his business off the ground.

That includes new laws and regulations that affect small cosmetics companies that are already producing safe cosmetics. We must work together to ensure that, as consumers a protected, the small companies that are paving the way for the future prosperity of our nation are not unnecessarily regulated out of business before they even get a chance to start.

These are lofty aspirations, I know. We have our work cut out for us.

Won’t you join me?

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