Entrepreneurial

Small business owners feeling glum about economy: poll

President Barack Obama called them the “engines of growth” in a debate this week against Mitt Romney, but small businesses are feeling decidedly glum about the broader economy and more than half of them have no plans to hire anytime soon.

Just a third of small businesses say they are optimistic the economy will improve this year, down from 61 percent who felt the same way last spring, showed a new survey by The Hartford insurance group released on Thursday.

Their uneasiness about the sluggish economy has small businesses holding off on hiring. Nearly 60 percent of the 2,000 small business owners, with fewer than 100 employees, surveyed back in August said they did not add staff in the last year and 67 percent did not intend to hire over the next 12 months.

That’s disconcerting news about a segment of the economy the U.S. Small Business Administration touts as responsible for creating more than half of all new jobs.

“The last six months something has changed their view point,” said Liam McGee, president and chief executive of The Hartford, which provides insurance to about a million small businesses. “There’s just so much uncertainty about all those things that it’s putting a damper on growth and hiring.”

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.

Why the debt ceiling debate won’t stop America’s small businesses

– John Krubski is an entrepreneur and the architect of The Guardian Life Index: What Matters Most to America’s Small Business Owners. He is currently working on his next book, “Cracking the America Code: How to Get US Back on Track”. –

As recently as April of this year, the Amex Open Survey announced that “For the first time since 2006, growth has surpassed survival as the number one priority for entrepreneurs… Perhaps further evidence that economic recovery is reaching Main Street, more than one-third (35 percent) plan to hire, the highest level since the fall 2008 survey.”

Just a few short months later, the headlines were filled with gloom and doom about the impending, “unprecedented” default of U. S. debt, followed quickly by predictions of a “double-dip” recession.

Jane Pauley tackles reinvention

SecondAct contributor Kerry Hannon is a Contributing Editor for U.S. News & World Report and the author of “Whats Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job”. This article originally appeared here. –

Jane Pauley, the former star of The Today Show and Dateline is back. Last year, the 60-year-old newscaster returned home to NBC’s Today, launching a monthly segment called Your Life Calling with Jane Pauley.

The series profiles people over 50 who reinvent themselves, their lives and their careers. “We’re going to live longer than our parents’ generation, and there comes a point when you ask yourself, ‘What am I going do?’” Pauley says. “You can only play so much golf.”

5 reasons to join a startup after graduating

– Eric Stromberg joined Hunch in 2010 and works primarily on business development. Prior to Hunch, Eric worked as a summer analyst in Goldman Sachs’ Sales and Trading Division. Eric received a BA, magna cum laude, in history from Duke University. This article originally appeared on his blog. The views expressed are his own. –

After I wrote my last post, a surprising number of people emailed me asking why I decided to join a startup after graduating from Duke. Many of those I heard from face similar decisions today: either they are college seniors choosing between a big company and a startup, or they are recent graduates who work at a big company and are thinking about making the switch.

What’s interesting is that most are already leaning towards the startup career path: it seems they just want someone to assure them it’s a rational move. Their friends and family are skeptical: “How can you turn down a job at Morgan Stanley for a 10-person startup?” Hopefully this post will give those who want to join startups some good points to bring back to the skeptics as to why it’s a good idea to join a startup early in your career.

Hearty 2011 seen for restaurateurs

This year the restaurant industry is poised to put up its best numbers in four years, buoyed by an increase of roughly 2 million jobs since the depths of the recession and improved household income.

Sales are seen rising 3.6 percent to $604 billion in 2011, according to forecasts from the National Restaurant Association, the industry’s trade group.

“When employment moves up it creates additional demand for convenience such as pizza,” said Hudson Riehle, the association’s senior vice president of research and information services. “Barring any unforeseen shocks, the future for the industry will continue to improve.”

Exclusive: Entrepreneurs vow to create 1,000 jobs in two days

By the time he was 30, Dan Bliss had started 10 businesses, employing hundreds of people. Now he wants to help other entrepreneurs create jobs.

Bliss is the founder of the Perfect Business Summit, a two-day event held in Las Vegas October 7-8, that brings together top CEOs, entrepreneurs and investors with more than $10 billion in capital. For the second anniversary of the conference Bliss got the participants to commit to creating 1,000 new jobs by spring 2011.

“This is like a two-day economic stimulus,” said Bliss, now 40, who made his fortune running restaurants and concert venues in his native Cleveland, before relocating to Los Angeles nearly a decade ago. “Our event isn’t one of those rah-rah conferences where it’s just a bunch of motivational speakers. We bring real CEOs, real business founders to these events that have done it.”

Big business pipeline for small business

CORRECTED: the Universal College Application was created by ApplicationsOnline LLC and not the NCAA as was previously stated.

With President Obama’s small business bill stalled in Congress, big business is trying to pick up the slack.

Six of America’s largest corporations – IBM, AT&T, Bank of America, Citigroup, Pfizer and UPS – have banded together to create a “one-stop shop” for small and mid-sized businesses looking to sell to them and take advantage of the nearly $150 billion awarded collectively in contracts each year.

Golf and career transitions

- Candida Brush is the Paul T. Babson Chair of Entrepreneurship at Babson College. The opinions expressed are her own. -

For years I have been an avid golfer, spending as much time in the summer playing on a competitive team, in tournaments, or even just four holes in the evening with my husband.

As a professor of entrepreneurship, I’ve written hundreds of articles, books, and papers on these topics over the past 25 years. But, I have always wanted to write an article about golf!

Small Talk: Healthcare debate heats up

The healthcare debate is just starting to heat up for small business owners. FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters sister publication, has a nice blog post titled “Healthcare reform & small business: 3 bills explained,” in which they break down Obama’s “Affordable Health Care for American Act” legislation, that was approved by a slim majority of 220-215 by the House over the weekend.

In general the reaction by small business to the Obama legislation has been largely negative, with the most damning attacks coming from small business lobby groups, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Small Business Association. In a Wall Street Journal story, titled “Small Business Crunches Numbers“, NFIB senior VP Susan Eckerly said the bill’s “punitive employer mandates and atrocious new taxes will force small business owners to eliminate jobs and freeze expansion plans at a time when our nation’s economy needs small business to thrive.”

Denver Business Journal reporter Kent Hoover examined the bill from a small business perspective in his article “How small business fares under health-reform bill“. In it Hoover said that while the majority of small businesses oppose the legislation, some support it because “they think the insurance market needs the bill’s reforms, such as barring insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions,” wrote Hoover, adding: “Plus, they think providing a government-run option in new health insurance exchanges would bring needed competition to the insurance market.”

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