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Wendy N. Powell Headshot

Business Owners and Developers: Give Credit Where It's Due

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It's time to re-evaluate your business to determine who is "credit worthy" for your personal sweat and financial equity.

President Obama, in a speech on July 13 in Roanoke, Virginia told a cheering crowd of his supporters, "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

"We are all in this together" -- right?

Right, as a business owner, you may ask yourself:

"Who was with me when the sweat equity was being performed to acquire the necessary education, perform feasibility studies, create a business plan, invest my own money, seek out funding, and location? Who shared my passion? Did you place your life on hold and risk your personal life to make a successful go at the business?" Perhaps, did you put personal relationships, marriages, having children on hold to create your lifestyle?

Many companies literally used hammers and nails and created their business locations from the ground up. A village did not show up to help their company. Government did not make that happen. Companies paid for permits, engineering, labor, all not free.

And what road blocks were put in my way? What regulations and laws do I need to consider that may stifle my success and growth? How will I know when I will be able to expand and what considerations are necessary such as unknown health insurance costs, LLC fees, and taxes.

While I was in school molding my knowledge base, were there others at home watching their favorite sitcoms? Were they planning to rely on my personal educational experiences? You bet. I received student loans that must be paid back. There was no assistance there. It came out of my bank account.

Statistics about new business creation (employers of approximately one-half of American workers) and the success rate reveal startling statistics:

Seven of ten new companies survive two years, 50% last five years. That is gambling of personal finances and lifestyle to bet on success or not. Most companies do not receive or request a handout -- loans yes; free money, no.

Companies must evaluate costs to comply with governmental regulations, again not free and line items on their budgets. They range from a cost per employee of $7,755 to $10,585 depending upon the size of the institution.

Companies pay taxes for road improvements, often significant levies for businesses; they pay for the Internet, that is not free. They pay for their marketing, all part of their business plans and expenses.

Small businesses largely rely on their own human and sweat capital along with loans from banks. That is loans from banks that they must pay back using their profits and revenues. This is not free or found money. My small business was formed from deductions from my 401(k) as many are. There was no assistance. I built it alone and no one outside of my home made it happen.

We must ask ourselves, when is it that we need to get a piece of that business' pie? Is it in the business development stage or perhaps after companies realize success?

To whom do we need to provide recognition and when if at all? I see much due recognition in my classrooms for the students who want a level of lifestyle that they are preparing to work for. I respect that.

What do you think you need to credit and what is your experience?