Pamela Redmond Satran is a developer of baby-naming site nameberry.com, based on the name guides she coauthored with Linda Rosenkrantz. The opinions expressed are her own.
Dear President-Elect Obama,
In the final days leading up to your election, we heard a lot about what you were going to do to help small-business owners. Now it’s time to pony up. Not sure where to start? As someone with the audaciously bad timing to launch my website, nameberry.com, on October 14, I have some ideas:
Start a web-based work initiative
Taking a cue from FDR’s bold work initiatives in his first 100 days, you might train people to work on small web businesses like mine. Instead of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), call it the WWW Camp, where laid-off mortgage brokers and moms craving flexible hours can learn software coding and database management and website design. The result: More jobs in northern Vermont and southern Virginia; more accessible and affordable help for the new generation of small web-based business owners like me.
And while you’re at it, improve the Internet infrastructure
You’re planning to spend billions on highway improvements, but what about the Internet infrastructure? Spending money on roads promotes more driving, which uses fuel and increases our carbon footprint, while investing in the next generation of technology encourages people to stay home and spend more time on the web. That’s good for me and all the other web startups.
Bring the Small Business Association into the 21st century
I’d love it if the SBA was dealing with 2009 businesses like mine along with coffee shops and dry cleaning stores. The kinds of issues I faced starting my business – finding a talented and affordable designer, figuring out search engine optimization, driving traffic to my site – aren’t even addressed at sba.gov.