Study Outlines Top Five Issues for Small Firms
The top five most pressing issues facing small business owners and entrepreneurs this year are strengthening the economy, taxes and regulation, health insurance, a quality workforce and global competition, according to a government economist.
Chad Moutray, the chief economist at the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, also suggests in his new 19-page paper (pdf) "Looking Ahead: Opportunities and Challenges for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Owners," five opportunities that small businesses should consider pursuing in the next decade.
He says small firms would be wise to look toward investing in technology and innovation by grooming local entrepreneurs, a concept he refers to as "economic gardening." Proponents of economic gardening, who essentially encourage communities to plow the dollars that would have been spent on luring big businesses to their town to promote local small businesses instead, argue that grooming existing firms will lead to greater payoffs and more local job creation.
Additionally, he recommends that small firms consider taking advantage of the nation's current economic climate by exporting. "Historically, many small business owners have not been proactive about trading with foreign partners," he writes. "While 28.9 percent of the known export value stemmed from small firms, entrepreneurs have yet to fully tap the potential for growth in the export arena."
He also pushes policymakers to make concerted efforts to encourage business ownership among certain demographic groups, highlighting the impact that women and minorities have had on the nation's growth and adding that data shows a "strong connection between immigration and high-technology entrepreneurship, suggesting enormous benefits for embracing these new citizens." Moutray adds that many veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan "are likely to devote themselves to entrepreneurship, as previous generations of veterans have done."
Lastly, he says that small business owners should ensure they offer education and training to employees. "Small business owners should look at education not just as a means of retraining their workers, but also as methods of building new skills, developing new human talent and preserving employee morale," he says.
By Sharon McLoone |
October 20, 2008; 11:57 AM ET
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