President Barack Obama recently named Maria Contreras-Sweet to the top position at the U.S. Small Business Administration, but what currently remains unclear is exactly what she is going to do once she finally takes office. Fortunately, many small business concerns will make sure she is fully aware of what they want and need over the coming months and beyond.
Three of the biggest concerns most small business owners seem to have these days include the lack of general credit availability from major lenders, the issues that smaller companies have in winning potentially lucrative federal contracts, and the numerous regulations they now face that could serve as a hindrance to future success, according to a report from the Associated Press. The SBA has tried to expand its own small business lending efforts in recent months, but many entrepreneurs are still struggling to obtain the kind of financing they might need to help their companies grow or stay afloat.
One major issue that cropped up over the summer and has yet to be resolved is that the federal government is legally supposed to meet certain goals with relation to the number of contracts it makes with small businesses in particular, and has fallen short on those goals in the last few years, the report said. Experts say that Contreras-Sweet will therefore have to look more heavily into the ways in which these contracts are awarded to businesses of any size, and shift the federal focus to smaller ones in particular.
Some potential challenges
Of course, that kind of thing is far more easily said than done these days, especially because of how small the SBA's budget is when compared to other agencies, the report said. The most recent data shows that it only received $929 million to run for a year, compared to $573 billion for the Pentagon.
Moreover, Contreras-Sweet has yet to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, though it's believed that this won't be the most difficult process, the report said. Her predecessor, Karen Mills, had drawn some criticism from Republican lawmakers because the SBA's spending (specifically on lending) wasn't creating enough jobs for their liking.
Owners worried about their bottom lines going forward may want to think about the ways in which they can reduce their expenses to improve their situations. They may be able to do so by finding more affordable small business insurance policies, such as those for liability insurance, which can help them save thousands of dollars per year.