With 2010 finally over, everyone seems to feel the need to look back over the year that was. Here at Kamatoy Media Group we are no different, and because of our strong connection with small businesses we decided to go to our own small business and SBA loan expert, Craig G. Francis, for his thoughts on this very busy year. We wanted to know what he thought about the year in business, politics, and the economy, and Craig was more than happy to oblige. So today we begin a series of Q&A sessions with Craig G. Francis on the year that was and the year that is to be.
David Kamatoy: First, Craig, thank you for taking time at the beginning of the new year to talk to us.
Craig G. Francis: My pleasure, David.
David Kamatoy: To start off, Craig, what would you consider the top three small business stories from 2010, and why would you choose each of them?
Craig G. Francis: Well first, David, there was not a lot to cheer about in 2010. The economy, regulations and financial matters are still keeping small business down. The lack of consumer confidence is holding down business growth and profits. The state and federal governments are still running multi-trillion dollar deficits and we see more to come.
The business community is struggling to gain some traction in the minefield of uncertainty stemming from the lack of genuine concern for, and even active opposition to, the small business sector by the political elites. This is largely reflected in the jobs market. Unemployment is stalled at a high of 10% with another 7% who have given up. Small business creates jobs and retains them. So this measure of the businesses tells me that they are not healthy at this time.
Given these conditions, businesses can give a small cheer to the extension of lower taxes for individuals and small corporations. Even though the extension is only for 2 years, it allows the entrepreneurs to cope with one less problem and hope that the extensions will be made permanent by the new members of the Congress. This then may allow the business owners to make long-term plans and hire additional employees, while investing capital that has been sidelined during the first two uncertain years of the Obama Administration.
The second story is the slow opening of the lending spigots to the small business community. Coming from a complete lock down of capital of this lending sector in the latter part of 2008, banks are starting to provide the needed capital for growth to the entrepreneurs of this country. The SBA fee reductions and higher guaranties for small businesses, that segment that represents the greatest portion of job creation, has proven to be a great help to the banks’ comfort level in lending to the small business sector.
The third story is the great potential for repudiation of some of the worst sections of Obamacare and the executive decisions that are diametrically opposed to business health. This job-killing machine is being shown in all its destructive glory and even some of the most ardent fans of government health care are recoiling from this economic Hydra. These sorts of regulations could easily add 20% to the cost of employees, making our businesses unprofitable and even unable to compete on the international level.
David Kamatoy: In our next post we will talk with Craig G. Francis about his top economic stories of 2010 and where he sees things going in 2011.
Craig G. Francis is the owner of Francis Financial and The SBA Loan Store. He has been a top producer of SBA Loans since 1981, and has worked with Dun & Bradstreet and Bank of Commerce. Craig Francis has the expertise to steer clients through the often confusing rules and regulations associated with SBA Loans, having helped over 2,000 businesses acquire over a billion dollars in loans. He can be contacted through CraigGFrancis.com, SBALoanStore.com, on LinkedIn, or at 888-666-9722.