Entrepreneurial

Exclusive: Small business backs Obama, not Democrats: poll

The Obama administration has hurt small businesses but the president still leads in backing among current 2012 election candidates, a new survey found.

Some 63 percent of small businesses said the administration’s policies had been damaging to small business, while only 16 percent indicated they had benefited, according to the poll by Manta, an online community that promotes small business. Some 67 percent were highly unsatisfied with government, with only 2 percent highly satisfied.

Meanwhile, the survey, which queried more than 2,300 small business owners online between August 12 and 29, showed President Obama as the candidate with 21 percent of support, followed by Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, with 14 percent; Texas U.S. Representative Ron Paul, also a Republican, with 11 percent; and Republican former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, with 9 percent.

“What’s happening now is that the individual plays as large a role as the party,” said Manta CEO Pamela Springer, adding that candidates “are trying to separate themselves even from their party, as there are so many independents out there. And the independent vote is very, very, very critical.”

Some 32 percent of owners polled in the Manta survey – the largest group – said none of the candidates supports small business, while smaller percentages backed Michele Bachmann, the U.S. Representative from Minnesota and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, both Republicans and Tea Party candidates.

Honest Tea founder on being owned by Coke: “It’s a dual identity”

Seth Goldman, co-founder of Bethesda, Maryland-based organic beverage company Honest Tea, said his company maintains a small business culture, even though parent Coca-Cola Co increased its minority stake to full ownership in March.

With 2010 sales of $71 million, the company’s teas can now be found in national retail chains such as Kroger and CVS. Goldman, in Washington recently for an SBA National Small Business week event, spoke to Reuters about the transition.

Q: Were you able to maintain the Honest Tea culture after Coke took full ownership?

from Tales from the Trail:

Former “start-up” Obama wouldn’t mind being as popular as…SpongeBob

obama_sanfranHe's been president of the United States for about two-and-a-half  years, but Barack Obama still remembers being a "start-up" -- and he wouldn't mind being as popular as SpongeBob SquarePants.

The Democratic president, who is in the middle of a road show to sell his ideas for cutting the deficit, spent the evening in San Francisco on Wednesday raising money for his campaign, and he targeted tech-savvy donors who had started successful companies of their own.

"Some of you are involved in start-ups, well I was a start-up just not so long ago," Obama told a dinner fundraiser at the home of Marc Benioff, the chief executive of salesforce.com.

Small business prominent in State of the Union

OBAMA-SPEECH/President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was peppered with references to small businesses and other Americans who he applauded for living the “American Dream.” Following is a roundup of excerpts from the speech where he mentions small business.

On progress:

“We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again. But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise.”

On innovation and the future:

“No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place on Earth… The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation. None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do – what America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living. Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation.”

On improved Internet coverage:

from The Great Debate:

Obama fails small businesses

georgecloutier1-- George A. Cloutier, a graduate of Harvard Business School, is the founder and CEO of American Management Services, one of the nation’s largest turnaround and management services firms specializing in small and mid-size companies. The opinions of George Cloutier are his own and do not represent those of the United States Conference of Mayors or Partner America. --

President Obama gets an “F” for his small business program. The SBA has guaranteed a paltry 50,000 loans  to the nation’s 29 million small businesses – that’s .0017. Loan volume is down 36 percent from 2008 and 50 percent from 2007. Obama and his advisers have actually done the unimaginable; they have reduced the flow of aid to small businesses in the face of a deep recession. The program’s bank lenders have left $15 billion on the table due to “regulatory problems.” Even an administration plan to provide lending to 70,000 vehicle dealers has no takers and failed.

Administration “experts” allocated less than 1 percent of the stimulus bill to small business. It’s mind-boggling that Washington ignores the biggest economic sector in the country employing 60 million people, producing 50 percent of GDP, and creating 70 percent of new jobs.

Small Talk: Jobs data contradictory

Over the last week there have been some wins and losses for small businesses in terms of new job data.

On the win side of the ledger, a new Intuit survey shows 44 percent of small businesses say they plan to hire in the next 12 months. The data is included in a San Francisco Chronicle story profiling a local Web startup – Airbnb.com – that is doing its part, having hired seven people since April, at a time when national unemployment has reached a 26-year high of 10.2 percent.

But that optimism is tempered by a USA Today story that said the main reason the unemployment rate jumped in October was due primarily to small businesses cutting staff. It seems that while some small companies are starting to hire again, they are still outnumbered by the ones laying off their workers. The story quotes Moody’s economist Mark Zandi, who explained there is a bias towards big companies in how the Labor Department compiles its payroll survey, which showed October job losses were down nearly 50 percent (190,000) from the average of 357,000 in May, June and July.

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