Originally a celebration to honor those of you who truly built your own businesses, National Small Business Week is often hijacked by politicians who care little about what you do. You’ll hear many flattering phrases like “champions of free enterprise” and “backbone of the economy.”
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’ll never stop in 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’s no better time to personally reach out and share your views and concerns. Don’t assume 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 support 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 small 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’s crucial 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 policies on behalf of small businesses. Thank them for their ongoing support and assure them that they have yours.
Let’s all pledge to ensure this annual observance remains 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.