SmallBiz Vote
  • Foreign policy debate addresses businesses at home

    Monday's Presidential Debate in Boca Raton, Fla., marked the last chance for President Obama and Governor Romney to go head-to-head on whose policies would better support small business. The evening's theme was foreign policy, but there was plenty of discussion of domestic policies, as well as of how each candidate's approach to foreign relations would influence U.S. businesses, jobs, and trade.

    And yet, small business owners were left after this debate with as little concrete information as they were by the previous three about how either candidate's policies might improve their prospects, increase their access to capital, or encourage and support entrepreneurship and the increasing numbers of self-employed Americans.

    The candidates got in their first small business quips in response to Bob Schieffer's question, "What do each of you see as America's role in the world?"

    Obama charged Romney with having proposed "wrong and wreckless policies" at home and abroad. Romney took the

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  • Still undecided? Review the top 7 small biz issues

    Small business owners fear what comes after the election

    Despite both presidential candidates' promises to cut taxes for small businesses, reports today on a new survey of small business owners say a vast majority of them believe the reverse will happen. More than three-fourths believe their taxes will go up next year, according to a survey from The Hartford. USA Today reports:

    Both candidates have said that if their opponent wins they will mess it up for small businesses. Are those the negative messages that owners are taking home?

    The Hartford's study, which surveyed more than 2,000 small-business owners, shows they are hanging on to every word the candidates say on small-business policy. About 83% of them say they'll be thinking about it when they cast their votes.

    "All they're hearing is how one side is going to screw it up and how the other side is going to screw it up," says Garrett Sutton, author of Run Your Own Corporation. "That has an effect with business owners. They're sitting on their hands waiting to see what's going to

    Read More »from Still undecided? Review the top 7 small biz issues
  • Debate 3: Candidates aren’t asked, talk small biz anyway

    Presidential candidates answer small business questions that aren't asked.

    Last night's Presidential debate was presumably the last chance for the candidates to battle over whose policies will best serve small business; the one remaining debate on October 22 will focus on foreign policy. But none of the questions posed to the candidates by citizens in the Hofstra University town hall session yesterday inquired specifically about small business. President Obama and Governor Romney nevertheless managed to make 23 mentions of the term that has been a campaign favorite--Obama 7, Romney 16.

    Katie Vlietstra, Director of Government Affairs for the National Association of the Self Employed, who live-Tweeted the debate at @GAatNASE, called the event entertaining television but frustrating for small business owners. Considering that the self-employed account for at least 76 percent of small businesses, Vlietstra said, "It seems to me that both candidates and campaigns are missing the boat when talking about small business."

    President Obama claimed that 97 percent of

    Read More »from Debate 3: Candidates aren’t asked, talk small biz anyway
  • Small biz profit margins at pre-recession rates, report says

    Net profit margins are returning to pre-recession rates, a report shows

    Small businesses this year saw net profit margins increase by the highest rate in seven years, according to a report generated by the Raleigh, NC-based financial information company Sageworks.

    The report reflects activity exclusively among privately held companies with under $1 million in annual sales in more than 20 industry categories including real estate, construction, retail trade, scientific and technical services, healthcare, accommodation and food services, and manufacturing. Sageworks collects more than 1,000 financial statements daily from certified public accountants and banks nationwide. The company generated its report from this audited data.

    According to the report, in the last 12 months profit margins of small companies were up 6.01 percent over the year-ago period. It marks the first period since 2005 that profit margins rose more than 6 percent. In 2004, profit margins among the group rose 6.65 percent, and in 2005 they rose 6.78 percent. Profit margin increases were

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  • VP debate provides no new info for small business

    VP candidates' debate didn't answer small biz questions

    As it did during last week's presidential debate, "small business" came up frequently during last night's vice presidential debate. Together, Vice President Joe Biden and Representative Paul Ryan invoked the term 17 times in response to questions from Martha Raddatz. But, as with the presidential debate, the candidates delivered no direct statements about what they would do for small business owners.

    Biden and Ryan did not address any of the topics small business organizations told Yahoo! Small Business Advisor they would like to hear discussed during the debates: they offered no plans for improving small business access to credit, not a word about crowdfunding or innovative approaches to supporting startups, and no mention of entrepreneurship nor steps the country could take to encourage self-employment and nurture small business.

    In fact, small business was mentioned during the vice presidential debate almost exclusively in the context of tax reform. Specifically, the candidates and

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  • 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

    Read More »from Smallest of small businesses need credit to fund growth
  • 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

    Read More »from Entrepreneurs and crowdfunding not on candidates’ radar
  • 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

    Read More »from Small business got few specifics from first debate
  • 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

    Read More »from Seven small biz questions for the Presidential debate
  • 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

    Read More »from Considering entrepreneurship in old age? Here’s help

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ABOUT SMALLBIZ VOTE

SmallBiz Vote discusses candidates, policy, and news of the 2012 U.S. elections from the perspective of business owners and entrepreneurs.

SmallBiz Vote Bloggers

  • Adrienne Burke, Blogger/Writer, Yahoo! Small Business

    Adrienne Burke has been editing and writing for B2B publications since 1993 …

  • Virginia Hines, Yahoo! Small Business Advisor

    Virginia Hines leads the Yahoo! Small Business Advisor product team.

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