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Small Business Conversations

When small businesses have been talked about recently in a news context, it has generally been because a political candidate has attempted to show how their particular brand of party politics will solve all small business problems while of course the other guys are portrayed as out of touch about the entire small business world. How many small business owners are tired of being treated as a political football like this? Probably most if they are being totally honest. After all, political speeches do not solve real world problems, and most small businesses have their fair share of immediate issues requiring timely attention.

What is likely to be much more relevant and useful to a small business owner is to hear how to solve a specific problem with a here and now solution. Think of this as solving problems on a real-time basis rather than on political time. The past several years have certainly provided a vivid illustration of how slowly the clock moves when dealing with political timeframes. Without a willingness to communicate, negotiate and collaborate, the clock has been moving in ultra slow motion when looking at the United States Congress and Senate. 

Small businesses simply cannot afford to wait for the congressional logjam to break loose. Current small business problems realistically need to be solved now rather than in some hypothetical future. Real-time solutions should be acted upon rather than waiting for uncertain political-time actions. In order to facilitate such a prudent approach, this article will be the first of a lengthy series that will feature small business conversations about enacting real-time small business solutions for real-time small business problems.

For example, regardless of election outcomes it is not likely that banks will be materially changing how they are currently dealing with small business financing. Bank financing to small businesses has effectively been in drydock (that is, high and dry) since well before the 2008 election cycle. The problem was theoretically eliminated by a 2008 bank bailout that was supposed to restore commercial funding to small business owners. This did not happen because banks decided to take a different path when they discovered that they were not legally bound to spend bailout funds by restoring previous levels of small business loans. Many banks have instead resumed risky derivatives trading that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis. Small businesses waiting for routine commercial financing from banks are still treading water in most cases. 

As you might imagine, treading water like this is not a long-term winning strategy for a small business. As one practical solution, many have already implemented contingency plans for reducing business debt, seeking alternative financing and negotiating with their lenders and suppliers. Future articles here will address this and other real-time small business solution strategies.

By: S.A. Bush