The decline of small business optimism

Ants – they are the unwelcome summer guests; the plight of the summer picnic. One tiny mistake, one lemonade left unfinished, one cookie crumb fallen on a checked blanket is the surest way to put a damper on any summer afternoon. They appear slowly, one carefully making its way across the blanket to the fated leftovers, another following close behind. With careful calculation, the others follow suit, working their way across the blanket and onto the once pristine spread. Left unchecked, they slowly take over, as if one is an invitation for another, until there are so many ants that the picnic is effectively ruined.

Small businesses are facing a similar plight. Only the unwelcome guest at the proverbial picnic is the federal government and small businesses are left feeling the effects.
The National Federation of Independent Business, an organization that regularly surveys small businesses across America, reported a decline in small business optimism for the third straight month. Nearly two-thirds of small business owners responding to the survey said it was a bad time to expand their business operations.

Small businesses employ half of our nation’s private work sector, creating almost two-thirds of all new jobs over the last 15 years. The idea that “as small business goes, so goes the economy” is no surprise. Small businesses are the anchors of Main Street USA. They are the backbone of our economy. When small businesses are not optimistic, they are hesitant to invest, grow, and create jobs. And when they do not invest, grow, and create jobs, it impedes our nation’s economic growth.

A lack of small business optimism is obvious on one level. The unemployment rate is hovering around nine percent with little signs of shrinking. Many individuals have postponed starting new businesses. Capital to cover start up expenses is becoming harder to obtain. There has been a 23 percent in the rate of new business creation since 2007 resulting in as many as 1.8 million fewer jobs for Americans. But there is something else about the NFIB report that is even more concerning – and that is the reason why small businesses are not optimistic and why optimism is continuing to decline.

The economic data released by the NFIB makes it clear that the increasing role of government in the lives of small businesses has left them treading in rough waters. While there is nothing new about some degree of government involvement in the lives of small businesses, the role of the federal government has increased significantly in the past several years in the form of taxes, regulations, and bureaucratic red tape. 


The decline of the small business

In response to this ad, I am a small business owner that has been seriously affected by the declining economy. Once upon a time our company reported a $500,000 gross. We were able to purchase land and build our family a home. We were able to pay our bills, we employed 18 people. Our business was striving and the company was moving forward.

Then our world came crashing down. I lost my home after living there six years. We had to sacrifice a lot to get to where we were. I have lost my vehicles as well. I had to sell my camper that our family spent family time together every weekend. Basically, I am telling you I had to file bankruptcy. Our debt had exceeded our income. We tried to hold on and couldn't. By the time we made this decision, our credit went from excellent to poor. If I tried right now to even get a gas card, I would be denied. I was forced to rent. The government took over the house and has recently sold it for half of what I owed. At the same, we listened to the mortgage company to do a refinance. We gave them all requested documents and they plaining showed what we could afford. If they had truly wanted to work with us, we would still be in our home instead of the new buyers.

I decided to go back to school so that I could get a better job and help my husband support the family. I'm getting ready to graduate soon. Guess what, I have incurred a $20,000 debt to repay. Yes, I chose a career path in the medical field for job security. Hopefully I will be able to find a job that will compensate my expenses and support some of the bills in the household.

Our business on the other hand has lost three quarters of its income. We are down to three helpers and struggling to find work. I have cut business cost down as much as I can due to government regulations. Then you have county regulations telling you what you can do and can't.

The new housing industry is no more. We concentrate on remodel work. If anyone is in this line of work, you know it is a doggy-dog world out there. There is so much competition that everyone is cutting there prices just to be able to work. In the meantime, suppliers are steadily increasing there products. Ours have been doing this twice a year. How in the world is anyone suppose to get back on there feet?

There are so many ways to cut costs within the government sector. The only way this mess is going to get some headway is someone take a stand and get rid of unnecessary spending. All of us little people are paying the price for their decisions. I sure would like to have half of their salary, or take the vacations that these people take. The clean house affect needs to start within the government sector. Once this happens everything else will fall into place.

Try explaining this to your children. Try saying that you can't do that because we can't afford it now. Try to provide for your family as you once did but have the guilt that you can't now. Deal with the pressures just to pay everyday bills. This takes a toll on someone overtime and becomes very depressing. I'm sure you may think that I'm babbling but these government officials higher up in Washington, DC need to come and step in my shoes.

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