Blog Posts by Adrienne Burke

  • Smallest of small businesses need credit to fund growth

    Microbusinesses have a tough time getting credit

    A new poll of microbusiness owners contradicts another recent report that small business owners have a gloomy outlook on the economy. Instead, according to the survey conducted by three small business organizations, most owners of businesses with 10 or fewer employees are optimistic about the future of their business and about the economy.

    The Association for Enterprise Opportunity, the National Association for the Self-Employed, and Small Business Majority retained Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research to survey 470 microbusinesses online in August. The organizations say that many microbusinesses have been growing and expect to continue growing: over half report increased sales or revenues over the last two years and another 50 percent plan to hire within the next two.

    National Association of Self Employed CEO Kristie Arslan says microbusinesses, including the self-employed, are key drivers of the US economy. Based on the survey results, NASE predicts that the 22 million self-employed

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  • Entrepreneurs and crowdfunding not on candidates’ radar

    The presidential candidates are accused of missing a wave of entrepreneurship sweeping the nation.

    Despite all of the pandering to small business by both election campaigns, neither President Obama nor Governor Romney made any mention of entrepreneurs or entrepreneurship during the first presidential debate last week. SmallBizVote noted that glaring omission, and this week, Fast Company editor Robert Safian accuses the candidates of having their heads in the sand. Safian says they are overlooking "a tidal wave of creative, innovative startups sweeping the country."

    We pointed to many examples of those kinds of small business owners in another recent post here, Real job creators in the White House today. Safian points to several more who are "enthusiastically and optimistically setting out to build new businesses and to invent new ways of doing business," including by raising startup capital through crowdfunding platforms.

    Ryan Paugh, cofounder and chief of staff at the Young Entrepreneur Council, told Yahoo! Small Business Advisor that his organization would "love to know how each

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  • Small business got few specifics from first debate

    Small business got few specifics from first debate

    The term "small business" was uttered a total of 27 times in 90 minutes by President Obama and Governor Romney on stage in Denver Wednesday night, prompting headlines such as "Small business front and center in the presidential debate" in the Washington Post and a Bloomberg editorial that proclaimed small business the biggest winner of the debate.

    But for all their references to small business, did the candidates address the real concerns of small business owners, or just play to them with sound bites?

    Before the debate, we asked six leaders of small business and entrepreneurship advocacy organizations what questions they'd most like to hear answered. Post-debate, we've reviewed the transcript to determine whether the candidates delivered. For the most part, they did not.

    Two small business leaders—Small Business Majority founder John Arensmeyer and Young Entrepreneur Council cofounder Ryan Paugh—hoped the candidates would specifically address how they would improve access to capital

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  • Seven small biz questions for the Presidential debate

    Small businesses want the candidates to discuss key issues

    Domestic policy, presumably including topics of interest to small businesses, will be debated by the U.S. presidential candidates Wednesday evening in Denver starting at 9:00 pm ET. What single issue of interest to small businesses would you like to hear President Obama and Governor Romney discuss?

    Yahoo! Small Business Advisor asked leaders of six small business organizations what one crucial question they want the candidates to answer during the debate. If small business advocates were hosting the debate, here's what they'd ask:

    1. John Arensmeyer, founder, The Small Business Majority: What will you do to specifically improve the opportunity for small businesses to have access to working credit?

    2. Ryan Paugh, co-founder & chief of staff, Young Entrepreneur Council: The JOBS Act, signed last spring at the White House, is a tremendous leap in the right direction. However, there are still many opponents who believe that the way the SEC has set up the new law actually makes investing

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  • Considering entrepreneurship in old age? Here’s help

    One in four people age 44-70 are interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

    We hear a lot about young entrepreneurs and the many programs designed to encourage college students and 20-somethings to build their own businesses. But what about not-so-young entrepreneurs?

    If you're over age 50 and want to start a business, or if you're nearing retirement age but facing up to the fact that you won't have enough savings to stop working, Tuesday is your day. The Small Business Administration and AARP have partnered to celebrate National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Day on October 2. The event is part of a broader effort by the two organizations to promote entrepreneurship among individuals ages 50 and older.

    According to SBA, 25 percent of people aged 44-70 are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. More than 60 percent of Americans plan to work during their "retirement" years. Whether that's because their retirement savings disappeared during the recession, their investment portfolios have dwindled, or they just want to keep active, SBA says small business ownership

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  • Real job creators in the White House today

    2012 Empact Showcase Companies employed nearly 8,000 people and generate $1 billion+ annual revenues

    You can argue over whether Romney or Obama have created jobs, but there's no question that the people honored in a ceremony at the White House this afternoon have. Empact and the Startup America Partnership today honored the young founders of 100 U.S. businesses that collectively employ more than 5,500 people.

    Empact, which is run by a team of young entrepreneurs with impressive credentials of their own, has a mission to "facilitate a culture of entrepreneurship in communities across the world through exposure, celebration, and early stage startup support." It runs an annual collegiate tour, promotes the "entrepreneurial mindset" at conferences nationwide, and is wrapping up a four-day entrepreneurship meeting in Washington, DC, tomorrow.

    Leading established entrepreneurs, including the founders of RedBox, Chuck E. Cheese, and Priceline, chose the 100 companies honored at the White House today from a "showcase list" of 352 leading private companies started by young entrepreneurs. The

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  • SBA increases size standards for 58 industries

    Bigger businesses in 58 industries will qualify for SBA loans

    Last week we reported on rampant confusion about the size of a small business and some Republican leaders' objections to any changes in IRS definitions of small business is right now.

    Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced new rules increasing the size standards for businesses in 58 industries within three NAICS sectors: real estate and rental and leasing; educational services; and health care and social assistance. Effective Oct. 24, more than 18,000 additional businesses will qualify as small businesses under the new standards, according to SBA. For some industries, average annual receipts thresholds have been doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled.

    Since the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 called for a comprehensive review of all size standards, SBA has proposed new size standards for many industries. SBA says the latest revisions "reflect changes in marketplace conditions" and public comments it received to the proposed rules.

    "New size standards will enable more

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  • About those 18 small business tax cuts

    A report says small business tax cuts don't add up to 18

    Throughout their campaigns, President Obama and Governor Romney have each claimed to be the better candidate to support small business. The President has repeatedly pointed to the 18 tax cuts he's made on behalf of small businesses. Do you know which tax cuts he's referring to?

    This week CNNMoney dug into the details and the math. Turns out the Obama campaign is counting some cuts twice, and many have already expired. By CNN's count, there were only 14 tax breaks, not 18; 4 have expired, and 5 have been weakened. That leaves only 5 still in full effect for small businesses. Chances are great that you are not benefiting from more than one of them.

    The first cut of the five reportedly still in place was made available by the Affordable Care Act; the other four were created by the Small Business Jobs Act. They are:

    • a tax credit to companies that pay some health insurance and have 25 or fewer employees with average salaries of $50,000 or less. (A credit that, as we've reported, few
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  • Confused by small business definitions?

    A small business is bigger than a breadbox

    It's little wonder there's so much confusion about just what exactly a small business is. There are many definitions, and even within the federal government, there are varying standards.

    The U.S. Census tracks small businesses with under 500 employees. According to its data, 78 percent are actually self-employed individuals, and more than 95 percent of small businesses have 10 or fewer workers. Only 0.3 percent fall into the 100 or greater category.

    For research purposes, the U.S. Small Business Administration generally considers firms with fewer than 500 employees to be small businesses. But to identify candidates for its programs, the SBA defines a small business, depending on industry, based on sales or number of employees. Sales thresholds range from under $1 million to $35.5 million, with $7 million the most common benchmark. Employee number thresholds range from 50 to 1,500 employees, with 500 employees the most common benchmark.

    Among the various exceptions to SBA's 500

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  • Surprising small biz election survey results—Part 2

    Small business voters care less about taxes than jobs

    George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management says its latest survey of small business owners, conducted with Thumbtack.com, was designed to provide the media, policymakers, and the public at large with a better understanding of what small businesses value in the 2012 Presidential election. In addition to the stunning revelation that more small business owners would reelect President Obama than would vote for Governor Romney, here are some other stats from their recent Small Business Political Sentiment Survey of more than 6,000 small business owners.

    The economy/jobs was far and away the top election priority cited by respondents who identified themselves as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. From a list of 12 polling-booth priorities including "Beating Obama" and "Beating Romney," far more respondents (40 percent) chose "economy/jobs" than any other issue. A distant second concern was "ethics/honesty/corruption in government," the top priority of 13

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