Business Owners “Did Build That”

Guest Blog: Mark Adamson

As an entrepreneur and small business owner, I know what it takes to run a successful company. I own and operate a small business in Nebraska with six stores that employ about 40 people. I opened my business about 15 years ago, and like many entrepreneurs, created a business plan relying on startup loans to fund the operation.

Also like many entrepreneurs, I chose to work a full-time job and run my business at the same time. Contrary to popular belief, starting a new business is not like the movie, Field of Dreams-“if you build it they (customers) will come.” It can take years of hard work to achieve a level of profitability.

I elected to pay off my business loans before taking any salary at all. It took 11 years to pay off my loans…11 years without taking a penny out of the business. This is why entrepreneurs, like me, were genuinely offended when President Obama declared, “You didn’t build that.”

Risk is something most entrepreneurs are familiar with and must have to be successful. Politicians can’t understand this.  If we fail, we lose our house and our kids don’t go to college. Sorry Mr. President, we did build it and took upon ourselves all the risk inherent in starting a small business.

I feel compelled at this point to expound upon some things that should be self-evident, but are oftentimes overlooked. It is my conviction that small business is the Heart and Soul of America. Without small business, America isn’t America.

Small business owners are not greedy, evil, uncaring or heartless as portrayed by the media. Some of the most unselfish people I have ever met own a small business. These are folks who contribute to the local economy, pay taxes and employ people who also pay taxes. In fact, we pay ourselves last despite operating on a one or two percent profit margin.

When people ask me what is the greatest threat to my business, I tell them it’s not our competition…I can handle the challenges of competition. The greatest threat to my business is an over-reaching government. You’d think the government would do everything possible to make things easy for a new business to get started.  Instead, we’re faced with endless paperwork, regulation and taxes. It’s easy for government bureaucrats to pass laws and create regulations funded with tax dollars and other people’s money.

One of the biggest threats to my business is Obamacare. It would be impossible for me to open new stores because of the President’s misguided health care law. I employ 40 people now, but under Obamacare, if I hire 10 new employees another set of regulations kick in. Why would I expand for the privilege of being taxed and regulated even more? And, don’t even get me started on minimum wage. Government bureaucrats who have never made a payroll have no idea how this would impact small business owners like me working on a 5% profit margin.

For small businesses to succeed in this country, the culture in Washington, D.C. must change. We need to repeal Obamacare to lower health care cost, reform the tax code to encourage growth and opportunity, and rein in out of control regulation.

It takes courage to be a small business owner today. I fear I may lose my business if the federal government continues to grow, and more importantly, our country may lose what it means to be America.

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