Dec 10, 2015 - 8:00am

Dear 45: Always Remember Small Businesses – and Their Local Impact

Dear 45,

Season’s greetings from the nation’s capital, where we’re preparing to turn the calendar and usher in the start of the election year. Of course, the campaign has been well underway for months now, and we would like to take a moment to commend you and your fellow candidates for already talking a lot about one of the most vital parts of our economy – small businesses.

In recent weeks, we have heard candidates in both parties talk about the importance of small employers and entrepreneurs, lauding them as the “backbone of our economy” and an “engine of growth and innovation.” We have heard how small companies create two out of three new jobs and employ half of the American workforce. Frankly, we couldn’t agree more about the pivotal role small businesses play in our economy, and we’re encouraged to hear that the presidential hopefuls recognize entrepreneurs’ propensity to create jobs.

And yet, there’s so much more to small businesses.

In the spirit of the season, it’s worth noting that 90 percent of small employers donate to charities every year, and most don’t stop at financial contributions – their employees donate their time, too. And while their larger counterparts historically give billions every year to very important national and global causes, small firms are often the largest contributors to local charities, helping keep a local soup kitchen open or a neighborhood health clinic running. In fact, two-thirds of small businesses give back mostly to local nonprofits, supporting the causes that matter most to their communities.

Small businesses’ local impact isn’t limited to philanthropy, either. Studies have shown that small, independent companies tend to hire locally and source from nearby suppliers, which fuels a cycle of local spending and investment that strengthens the regional economy, generates more local tax revenue, and spawns more new businesses and more new jobs.

Still, that doesn't tell the whole story.


When we think about Main Street, we think about the mom-and-pop shops and the family-owned restaurants that give our towns their unique personality. We think about the small manufacturers who provide good-paying jobs to our communities, as well as the local construction companies and third-generation farmers who help put roofs over our heads and food on our tables.

Mostly, we think about all the entrepreneurs who dream big, take risks and inspire our country’s next generation of small business owners by reminding us what the American Dream is all about.

We hope you think about them, too, because they could sure use a hand from their next president.

Small businesses could use a president who strips away some of our federal government’s many onerous rules and regulations, not another administration that continues to add pages to the federal register at a record clip. They need a regulatory environment that allows them to spend more time running and expanding their firms and less time mired in red tape.

They could use a president who supports trade and wants to expand their access to the 95 percent of consumers who live outside the United States. And they could use a president who wants to work constructively with Congress to address challenges on a wide range of issues, from commonsense tax changes to proposals that will help curb businesses’ skyrocketing health care costs.

Mostly, though, they need a president who understands that – whether it’s by creating new jobs or strengthening communities or fueling innovation – American businesses large and small have always been and will continue to be a big part of the solution to the challenges we face as a county.

Keeping that in mind, we hope that you will continue to outline for voters your plans to buoy the entire business community. More importantly, we hope your support for our nation’s entrepreneurs and small business owners extends beyond talking points on the campaign trail and debate stage - that is, we hope to see it materialize as a signature priority for your administration.