Small Business in America: Where do we go from here?
Wednesdays with Woodward webinar
November 18, 2020
Small-business leaders across the country have faced countless challenges in 2020, from keeping their doors open and their employees safe to adapting to new business models. Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, joined this episode of the Wednesdays with Woodward webinar series to unpack the results of the 2020 elections; explore what’s ahead for small-business legislation in the lame-duck session of the 116th Congress and in 2021; and provide actionable tips for small businesses in this unprecedented time.
Hoping for a Lame-Duck Miracle
Kerrigan estimates that several million businesses have permanently shuttered as a result of the pandemic. She expressed her hope that the 116th Congress would pass a new COVID-19 stimulus bill in its lame-duck period. She advocates for the establishment of a long-term COVID-19 loan program and a resumption of the Paycheck Protection Program, with several key reforms, namely, a simplified application and forgiveness process, and a new provision allowing small businesses to take out second loans.
2021 Legislative Wish List
Kerrigan shared what she would like to see in terms of small-business legislation from a new Congress and the Biden administration. Her priorities are tax certainty (keeping rates roughly the same), creating a long-term loan program, avoiding regulation that may harm small business, maintaining telehealth and promoting more competitive markets and innovation for affordable health coverage, and providing tariff relief and IP protections. Kerrigan predicts gradual economic growth in the near future.
Increasing Small Business Sales
Small businesses need to use every tool at their disposal to interact with their customers and showcase their products, according to Kerrigan. In addition to emailing customers and working in tandem with other local businesses, small-business owners should take advantage of social media a means of attracting and engaging customers, and to showcase their products. Moreover, small businesses should work with their respective municipal governments to come up with innovative ways to drive consumers to their businesses. Kerrigan asserted that small businesses should “meet customers where they are,” by instituting curbside pickup, setting up a local delivery system and embracing e-commerce.
Kerrigan predicts that the U.S. Small Business Administration will continue to play a major role in capital deployment for small businesses. In addition, she stated that the establishment of a long-term COVID-related loan program promising low interest rates would represent, for many small businesses, the only hope for full recovery.
Presented by the Travelers Institute, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and Accion.