Despite the Election Day hoopla, the political environment for American small-business owners is virtually unchanged from Nov. 6. Many of the challenges they’ve long faced still loom large: An administration hostile to free enterprise (“You didn’t build that…”), an earnings-looting plunge over the Fiscal Tax Cliff, an unworkable mandated healthcare law and the promise of more complex federal regulations.
According to the National Federation of Independent Business, optimism among owners is wallowing at recession levels due to fears of bolder government and the continuing fog of economic uncertainty billowing out of Washington, D.C.
Is it any wonder that small-business owners are now operating in “maintenance mode,” not hiring, expanding or ordering more inventories until responsible leadership returns to the nation’s capital?
And even though they’re very disappointed with the results of Tuesday’s election, they’re proud of the fight they put up during the election. What’s more, they’re determined to keep fighting as long as there is one elected official in Washington or a state capital for that matter, who doesn’t appreciate the valuable contributions they bring to the American system of free enterprise.
Ever in search of the positive, these free enterprise practitioners see a silver lining in the Nov. 6 balloting. There were some real small business advances, particularly in many states which elected pro-small-business legislatures and governors, and more small-business owners to offices than ever before.
In meaningful numbers, owners all across the country stepped up to run for office, spending their own money engaging in the political process with great intensity. Most importantly, they stood firm and spoke out against some of the most abusive and disrespectful politics that have ever been leveled at job creators.
This courage bodes well for free enterprise and for the future of our country. It sends a strong signal that they demand to be heard and refuse to be intimidated.
Why did they fight so hard with so much passion during this election? Because their businesses are much more than places to make a living. Those little firms are also their families’ foundations. They’re also stages upon which entrepreneurs can demonstrate free enterprise values for their children and exhibit meaningful jobs and life-improving experiences for employees.
That’s why NFIB’s “I Built My Business” bus tour attracted lots of public attention. When President Obama questioned Main Street’s ability, determination and commitment by charging… “You didn’t build that…” business on your own, that was the last straw for millions of them.
The election’s results might feel like a harsh blow to small-business owners, but they aren’t going to slink away quietly without a fight. Owners anticipate and are ready to meet some very difficult battles with the administration and its congressional supporters in the days ahead. But they’re no strangers to such struggles. As entrepreneurs who’ve survived the challenges of starting and running a small business, they aren’t quitters. In fact, the tougher the challenge, the more invigorated they become.