Small Business Owners Say Raise the Wage

Originally published on Huffington Post

By: John Arensmeyer, CEO of Small Business Majority and Christine Owens, Executive Director of the National Employment Law Project

Debate about raising the minimum wage is a hot topic, and the impact to small businesses is a sticking point in the argument. But what do real small businesses think about raising the wage? Small Business Majority polled a random sample of small businesses from across the country and found 57 percent of entrepreneurs support increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and indexing it to the cost of living. Continue reading

Karen Mills On Investing In America’s Small Businesses

Karen Mills, former SBA Administrator, just posted a terrific blog about the importance of greater investment in America’s infrastructure to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Ms. Mills’ remarks, presented at the 2014 America on the Move Summit at Harvard Business School, outline how investments in infrastructure will help businesses grow in the present while keeping them competitive for the future.

Check out her remarks and a recap of the event in her blog post on Huffington Post

Small Businesses Willing to Go the Distance on Long-Term Unemployment

Originally posted on The Huffington Post

If there’s one thing small business owners are always on the lookout for, it’s talent. Talented employees help them grow and thrive. But simply keeping their eyes peeled isn’t always good enough — often times they have to find creative ways to suss out the best and the brightest.

The Great Recession put many bright individuals on the unemployment line, and once someone’s been out of work for more than six months, it becomes exponentially harder to get back into the workforce. That isn’t stopping small business owners from tapping into that pool of talent, though. In fact, hundreds of entrepreneurs have already signed a letter committing to implement some best practices for recruiting and hiring the long-term unemployed. Continue reading

Policymaker To-Do List for 2014: Fortify Small Business and Middle Class

Originally published in The Huffington Post

Every year around this time, we think about what the year ahead might bring and how we can make it better than the last. To make 2014 a success, we must find ways to bolster our still-recovering economy. Supporting the middle class is one way to do that. A recent study indicates income inequality is at the highest it’s been in 100 years, with the top 10 percent of earners taking more than half the country’s total income in 2012. In order to close this immense income gap and strengthen our economy, America needs smart policies that will help grow the middle class, and small businesses need to be top-of-mind when crafting these plans.

Entrepreneurs know firsthand how vital the middle class is to our economic recovery. Their primary customer base is made up of middle class individuals and the vast majority of small employers themselves are middle class. In fact, Small Business Majority’s recent polling found only 5 percent of small business owners reported earning more than $250,000 a year, and research conducted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation reveals that seven in 10 entrepreneurs come from a middle class background. Continue reading

Thinking Small Can Have Big Benefits on Small Business Saturday

Holiday sales are vital to a business’s bottom line. In fact, the holiday season can generate as much as 20 to 40 percent of annual sales for many small and mid-sized retailers.

While the advertising industry is in full swing around Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, the unfortunate reality is that this year we’re faced with an uncertain economic climate because of the recent government shutdown, which could lead to fewer folks hitting the shops. In a recent survey, the National Retail Federation found that nearly one-third of consumers said the recent political gridlock surrounding the government shutdown may affect their holiday spending plans, and more than half said the current economic outlook would impact their holiday shopping. To add insult to injury, this is the shortest holiday season in a decade, which means businesses will have fewer days than usual to entice shoppers with their wares. What this all boils down to is that the stakes are higher than ever for entrepreneurs during the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Continue reading