The Small Business Administration is trumpeting its role in President Obama’s new rescue plan. SBA administrator Darryl Hairston said recently that “the Recovery Act will truly help small business owners.” Oh really? Let’s do the math. Out of a total $787 billion, the act provides $730 million to the SBA. We were never all that good with numbers (which is why we’re writing a blog and not clearing out an office on Wall Street) but we think that comes to $1 out of each $1,000 dedicated to small businesses (which happen to produce 97 percent of all new jobs). The largest SBA share of the stimulus, $375 million, will go to temporarily waive or reduce fees on SBA loans. $375 million. That’s about the amount of the Powerball jackpot won by ConAgra employees in Nebraska a few years ago. Maybe you could call and ask them for some stimulus.
Could Clinton do any better? Hard to say. But the ex-prez implied recently that he’d handle an economic rescue differently. Speaking at the annual International Franchise Assoc. convention in San Diego, Clinton said that “the stimulus package should do more for small businesses.” We wouldn’t argue with him there. But we would note Clinton collected a handsome fee for his appearance, so you’d expect him to tell the crowd what they want to hear. What they did not want to hear: Clinton predicts effects of the Obama stimulus plan will take hold in 15 months and a turnaround should arrive in two to three years. A lot of businesses can’t hold their breath that long.
It’s not worth killing yourself over. Or is it? In Korea three small-business owners ended their lives in the space of two weeks. The 47-year-old president of an autoparts company jumped off an apartment building after steep declines in orders. A 56-year-old man operating a leather-goods manufacturer poisoned himself in his room, leaving a note in which he apologized for his failing enterprise. The same day the 56-year-old owner of a struggling sewing business hanged himself. His note: “I’m sorry I cannot pay wages to my workers.” His suicide came after several banks turned down his request for a loan of 10 million won, which is around $6,800.
5 businesses not to start in 2009. So you might want to think twice before you go into autoparts, leather goods or sewing. Entrepreneur.com is questioning the logic of five other businesses once considered good bets: prepared meals for busy families; high-end baby shops; private jet travel; pet boutiques; and home staging. They all made frequent appearances on “hot” lists back in 2006 and 2007. Now they just evoke wistful memories of a better time. A $100 haircut for your dog? We hear long fur is in these days.