Does Everybody Really Love Small Business?

Brace yourself. Here comes National Small Business Week.

Originally a celebration to honor those of you who truly built your own businesses, this annual praise-fest is often hijacked by politicians who care little about what you do.

Just listen closely during the week of June 17-21. You’ll hear many flattering phrases like “champions of free enterprise” and “backbone of the economy.”

But don’t be fooled. Not every elected official who pats you on the back is your friend.  Some who loudly proclaim their support do so only during this one week a year. The rest of the time they’re steadily beating the drum for bigger government, higher taxes and greater regulation of free enterprise.

Many can’t answer the simple question: What is a small business? And they certainly don’t know much about you – the people who own and run them. They dole out high-fives, clueless to the thrilling perilousness of risk taking. Neither have they shared the joys and heartaches of employees who are like extended family members, nor have they ever made a private-sector payroll.

We at NFIB know and understand who you are and how important your business is to the economy. And we will never stop our efforts to share your stories with policymakers. We’re determined to educate them about the risk-reward propositions you face and the compassion you hold for those you employ, especially in this difficult economy.

You, too, can make a huge contribution to their enlightenment. There is no better time to personally reach out and share your views and concerns. Don’t assume that policymakers know you and your peers are job-creators, dedicated community supporters, innovators and highly trusted leaders in your respective business localities.

Inform them personally and challenge those who are supporters of bigger and more intrusive government. Ask them pointedly why they claim to appreciate small business but relentlessly push new taxes, more regulation and red tape that endanger your business’ survival and threatens the livelihoods and futures of those who work for you.

Urge them to work more closely with NFIB and their elected colleagues who truly do believe in the American Dream of business ownership. Encourage them to help create pro-small-business policies that will get our economy back on its feet.

It is crucial that you exercise your right of free speech as a small-business owner to correct the misconceptions that abound among some lawmakers. It is not only a right, but a responsibility that we guide those who offer only lip service support one week a year.

National Small Business Week is also an opportunity to commend those officeholders who courageously and consistently support the policies advocated by NFIB.  Thank them for their ongoing support and assure them that they have yours.

Let’s all pledge to ensure this annual observance is truly a tribute to entrepreneurship, one that encourages year-round respect and admiration for all entrepreneurs who are genuine, dedicated examples of the American work ethic.

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About Dan Danner

Donald A. "Dan" Danner was named president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's leading small business association, in February, 2009. Danner is only the sixth president in the history of the organization. Before rising to the top spot, Danner was executive vice president, overseeing NFIB's federal and state public policy and political activities as well as the organization's three 501 (c) 3 operations: the Research Foundation, Small Business Legal Center and the Young Entrepreneur Foundation. He came to NFIB in 1993 as vice president of the NFIB Education Foundation (now known as the Young Entrepreneur Foundation) and was named vice president of federal public policy in 1995. Previously, he was chief of staff to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Danner also worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison, where he was special assistant to the president and deputy director of the department. Before joining the White House staff, Danner was an executive with Armco Inc., a steel manufacturing company. He held leadership positions in sales and marketing, as well as state and federal lobbying on issues such as energy, environment, taxes and trade. He also served four years as vice president of federal relations at George Mason University. A native of Middletown, Ohio, Danner holds an MBA degree from Xavier University and an electrical engineering degree from Purdue University.
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