Save the pelicans and small businesses

– George A. Cloutier is the founder and CEO of American Management Services and the author of the bestselling book “Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing”. The opinions expressed are his own. –

For the last two months we have been inundated with photos of oil-covered pelicans and other marine animals victimized by the oil spewing forth from the ruptured BP well in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill in the Gulf is obviously disastrous, but it pales to the economic “oil spill” that has destroyed small businesses over the last two years.

Pelicans and small business owners are faced with surprisingly similar situations: they are victims of disastrous events beyond their control. They are faced with a life-threatening struggle for survival, in which many have already passed due to lack of assistance, or are facing an uncertain future with promises of government intervention.

Both groups are facing tough odds, but right now I’d rather be a pelican.

For small businesses, the Administration and Congress (both parties) have done little to mitigate the disaster; talking a lot about how much they care, but implementing only half measures and largely ineffective programs that only helped a few. Lending levels from commercial banks have seriously declined and have created a lending squeeze for small businesses at a time when they desperately need more credit.

Washington politicians passed a healthcare bill with provisions to aid small businesses in the payment of premiums, but forgot to mention, according to the Congressional Budget office, that only 11 percent of businesses with 25 or fewer employees would get some help. The eligible businesses will receive approximately a third of the total annual premiums back in the form of future tax credits. Why, as a business owner, would I add healthcare benefits for my employees when I will receive only 1/3rd of the additional costs?

National Small Business Week: Who cares?

– 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-sized companies. He is also the author of the bestselling book “Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing”. The opinions expressed are his own. –

Certainly not the Obama Administration and Congress (both Democrats and Republicans) who have repeatedly failed small business at every opportunity with soaring rhetoric, empty promises, and adopting Lilliputian aid programs.

Most of the twenty-nine million small businesses and their fifty million employees’ won’t be celebrating National Small Business Week because they’re fighting the worst economic crisis in recent history. The twenty-five thousand plus small businesses failing every week, and the owners who have lost their life savings and depleted their 401k’s, will not be celebrating either.

Is your business failing? It’s your fault


Brace yourself, because George Cloutier has some unsettling news: your failing business is your fault.

Cloutier is the no-nonsense CEO of American Management Services and author of Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing, a literary slap in the face to small- and medium-size business owners who wonder why sales are slipping and cash is tight.

Like the gruff boss he urges small business leaders to be, Cloutier doesn’t waste any time trying to get you to like him — he wants your respect, and his book fires off rules without apology: “Love your business more than your family”, “End your denial” and, perhaps most startling, “Give up golf – it’s a waste of time!”