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September 19, 2011

Show Up.

This past week I attended the National Small Business Association conference inWashington, DC. The group, which came from across the country, was smaller than last year. I am guessing there are a few explanations. First, the pace of business has increased to warp speed and many simply can’t take the time to leave their businesses for two days.  Second, the cost may be just too much for small business owners. Finally, there are those who have given up believing they can make a difference. Whatever the reason, the turnout was not stellar.

The Michigan delegation was the exception. We were 14 strong.

At a White House briefing on the first day we heard from representatives of the Small Business Administration, Department of Treasury, National Economic Council and others.  I can’t say I was “wowed” by anything I heard.  And quite honestly, I am tired of hearing political types say… “Small business is the engine that keeps the economy going.” Unfortunately, they don’t seem to do anything to make “doing business” easier.

The second day was better. We spent time making visits to Capitol Hill- meeting various elected officials and their staffs. The goal was to visit, talk about the issues that are important to small business and get to hear some of their priorities. What I saw firsthand, was that the effort our delegation made just by “showing up” was significant. OK, maybe we did not change any minds. Maybe we did. At any rate, if you don’t show up (or write your elected officials) you should not complain about the results. I do think that real business people and their real stories can have an impact on what happens to our country. Call me an optimist.

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