Erika Taylor
 

A new political campaign season is coming upon us, and small businesses need to let their voices be heard on the legislative level today, more then ever.

I recently read a survey that listed the top concerns of small businesses in America. Not surprisingly, eight of the nine largest items keeping company owners up at night were due to government intervention.

I’m not going to take a political position in this column, but when small- business professionals — the backbone of America — rank government interference as a larger problem than the economy, the credit crunch and the unemployment numbers, then we have a real problem.

These concerns need to be addressed by voting, contacting legislators and working with industry lobbyists on causes you believe deserve notice.

Here are the items business owners cite:

  • The cost of health insurance
  •   Federal taxes on business income
  • Government regulations
  • Fuel costs
  • Social Security taxes
  • State taxes on business income
  • Worker’s Compensation costs
  • Federal paperwork
  • Energy costs
  • Frequent changes in federal tax laws

In contrast, the National Federation of Independent Business conducts a survey of the top trends affecting small companies in America. It’s interesting to compare the two — concerns vs. trends — and see how they relate to each other. To me, some of these trends are in many ways a direct response to the concerns listed above.

Here are four of the top 10 which I believe show a connection.

  • The shift to contingent workers: Employers are continuing to move from full-time employees to part-timers, free-lancers, outsourced services, and other forms of contingent workers.
  • Personal businesses on the rise: Spurred by the Internet, the number of one employee businesses has grown twice as fast as the overall economy.
  • There is no place like home for small business: Lower costs and technological advances mean a continued growth of home-based businesses.
  • Clean and green creating small business opportunities: In many cases, the shift to sustainable business practices, products and services is changing how industries operate.

The owners of small companies are a resilient, inventive group and, as you can see, in many cases when the government zigs, they zag. There are nearly 30 million small businesses in America. Just think of what could be achieved if they banded together on issues that affect them.