Small businesses don't need more federal stimulus money
Small businesses don’t need more federal stimulus money

There have been speak recently to Congress on increased funding for small businesses that would target the industries hardest hit by the pandemic. It’s always a good idea if you’re a politician in an election year to hand out more money. But – given the trillions already distributed (and all the reported abuse of these funds) – is there really a need for more support for small businesses?

The answer is no.

Not that we don’t have our challenges, of course. Rising prices and labor shortages are creating headaches for almost all of my clients. Independent repair shops can’t get inventory amid supply chain disruptions. The companies of seafood company are affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war. And minority companies continue to struggle.

Republicans want everyone to believe that things are going terribly for small businesses and that it’s all the Democrats’ fault. Democrats, including the White House, say there is a “new small business boom” and their party is fueling it. Both sides can cite data to prove their points. But do they see what I see? I do not think so.

My business serves over 600 small and medium businesses across the country, and I speak to these business owners (and many others in my community) frequently. Over the past few months I have traveled to Florida, California, North Dakota, Wisconsin and other beautiful places where I have spoken to and with over a dozen industry organizations representing companies that sell corrugated containers, building materials, financial services, foam, insulation, tires, auto parts and equipment and, here’s what I found: they’re doing well.

American small businesses in 2022 are generally doing very well.

Because I write a lot about small businesses, I read a lot of reports. As the recent from Oculusa document automation platform, which reports that across its multi-industry customer base, small businesses have average daily cash balances nearly 80% higher than 2019 levels. Or the report from the Economic Analysis Officewho found that the profits of companies – large and small companies – have “jumped” 25 percent per year year over year, the largest annual increase since 1976.

I read the latest State of the World’s Small Business report published recently by Facebook parent metawhich found that around 54% of the 24,000 small and medium-sized business owners in 30 countries and territories surveyed reported higher or stable sales compared to the previous year, a number 6 percentage points higher at July 2021 levels. I also saw in another report from a small business finance provider Guiding Finanotcial that 65% of business owners said they were profitable and 83% of them expected their business to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

I’m close National Federation of Independent Businesses monthly reports, which are drawn from its members, and I know that small business optimism and earnings, while down from their all-time highs, remain relatively strong and at levels similar to what we’ve seen over the past decade. I’m learning from this report that small businesses are increasing what they pay workers and are looking to hire massively. The data I read from payroll services ADP and Payment also supports this.

I like to watch economic data, and as I project GDP growth slowed down, I still see that the two services and manufacturing industries are growing, airport traffic are approaching pre-COVID levels, the guests return to restaurants and construction industry – which indirectly and directly affects countless small businesses – is solid.

Nearly three-quarters of U.S. counties have seen a net gain in business since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a federal data analysis published on Tuesday. Startups are also booming, with nearly 5.4 million new business applications filed in 2021, according to data released earlier this year by the United States Census Bureauwhich is an all-time high and a 23% increase from 2020 (a record year with 4.4 million new requests).

And what about access to capital? According to a recent report, small business loan funding jumped 27% in 2021, with the average loan exceeding $700,000. Bank approval rates continue to rise, monthly analysis from small business finance firm shows Biz2Credit. Grants and local funding are available in areas ranging from from Maine to Missouri.

There are 30 million small businesses in this country. Six million of these are employer-owned businesses. Believe me when I say they will always have problems. In the past, people complained about lack of demand, excessive regulation, lack of capital and rising taxes. This year, it’s inflation and work. Next year, it will be the same thing, with an increase in interest rates. Some companies will do better than others. Some industries will experience faster growth. Some companies will go bankrupt. Some will thrive.

But the government can’t just hand out free money every time this happens. The unprecedented economic impact of the pandemic is over. The risks and uncertainties of running a business will never be. This is why we have chosen this life. The best thing Congress can do is provide a better regulatory environment for us to enjoy – and take our chances of succeeding or failing.

Gene Marks is the founder of The Marks Group, a small business consulting firm. He frequently appears on CNBC, Fox Business and MSNBC.


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