Yesterday I spoke at the California Association of MicroEnterprise Opportunity (CAMEO).
This is California’s voice for small local businesses – like yours.
Besides the formal meetings, my associate, Diane Strachan and I spent time socializing with some of the staff and members. These people are passionate and determined. And like you, they do it all. They lobby, they help start-ups and they help with small business expansion. There isn’t a small business problem they haven’t dealt with.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by thumbtack.com about results from a small business survey they conducted with the Kauffman Foundation that studied primarily governmental friendliness toward small business in states across the US. Look at the study results here. I wasn’t impressed because although they said their focus was small local businesses, I felt that their questions didn’t reflect an understanding of issues that are important to the success of microbusinesses – small local businesses like yours.
After my two days with California’s voice for microenterprise development, I like this study even less… one of the reasons I haven’t talked about it until now.
CAMEO is not governmental, so their amazing advocacy for California’s small local businesses didn’t get on the radar for this study – all the questions relate to a small business’s relationship to government, both local and state.
But, how many of you, as you were making a decision about where to locate your business, looked at things like governmental friendliness regarding taxation, labor and hiring regulations, and health and safety regulations etc. Probably not many.
You made a quality of life decision to follow your passion in a place where you could be close to family, or live in a place you loved.
Now, you started your business and you might need some assistance. Are those questions on the Thumb Tack/Kauffman Foundation study any more important to you now? NO!
What is important now is that you quickly find a microenterprise assistance organization to help you fill in those skill gaps you have, usually in marketing and finance. Read more about what I’ve said in the past about that 3-legged stool that is your business in this post: Are you Killing Your Small Local Business By Keeping Your Own Books?
Because of CAMEO and the microenterprise assistance associations that are its members, California should have been among the top small business friendly states in this study.
If you live in other states with excellent non-governmental microenterprise assistance programs, your state rating should reflect that too.. and it probably doesn’t. States like Oregon or Nebraska or Arkansas or Tennessee.
SBDC’s (small business development centers) and RC&D’s (resource, conservation and development centers) are important resources for you too.
The biggest problem these organizations have is that you don’t come to them in time.
I have worked with these organizations all over the United States and I am constantly amazed at their staff and trainers’ dedication to your success. But if you come to them with your business on its last legs, all the resources at their disposal might not be enough to save you.
If you seek them out when you’re having the business equivalent of “flu symptoms,” expect that they will pull out the stops to help you find solutions and turn your business around.
“What about starting a new business?” you might ask.
While you’re still in the exploration phase, get to that microenterprise association or SBDC and start a conversation. They have business development training programs that will get you started on a successful path toward fulfilling your dream of a business of your own.
California legislators, watch out!
I know that today, these California microenterprise development specialists are spending time at the capitol, educating legislators about how important your success it to the overall success of the state of California.
The microenterprise folks in your state are on the move to your state capitol as well.
And you have folks like Chuck Hassebrook, formerly Executive Director at Center for Rural Affairs telling your story in Washington, DC.
The message is, “You are not alone!”
Get help now. And, if you don’t need any help, contact your microenterprise association anyway and become a part of their efforts.
Contrary to what you hear on the news, it’s not the big corporations that will turn this economy around and bring good jobs back for ordinary hard working people. It’s you and other small local businesses.
… now I’ll get off my soapbox.
Here’s another past post you might enjoy: