Last week, we witnessed the opening shot in the small-business game of the presidential political season. Hillary Clinton took to LinkedIn to promote herself as the small-business candidate. She provided four very general ideas: cut red tape, increase access to capital, provide tax relief to small-business and provide access to new markets.
This will be the first of many positions taken by both sides of the aisle – to try and win the hearts and minds of Main Street America.
My hope is that we can hold the candidates feet to the fire – to provide concrete and specific ideas about improving access to capital for small-business owners and entrepreneurs.
Here are Three Places to Start:
1. If you can’t measure it – you can’t understand it. There are dozens of definitions running around Washington about what constitutes a small-business. With a lack of definition, and a lack of reporting requirements for alternative lenders, it’s about impossible to really understand what’s happening in the marketplace. For once and for all, we need a definition of what is a small-business and hold all lenders accountable for reporting their activities.
2. If we like it or not – we’re running hundreds of banks out of garages. Since the great recession, we’ve soon the emergence of hundreds of alternative lenders, offering business owners and entrepreneurs access to quick capital. It’s the wild-wild west of alternative lending. And while it’s certainly helped some businesses, it’s hurt plenty of others. Let’s get a handle on this industry – once and for all.
3. There is nothing express about SBA Express loans. Politicians love to talk about “express loans” – but they still take weeks if not months to get, and suck up dozens of hours from time starved business owners. Silly requirements like needing a ten year lease at your place of business blow these loans up time and time again. If we say Express, let’s mean it.