by L. Denise Jackson

Small business abuse is common.  More common than many know or than many want to believe.  They are the backbone of the economy.  That is what everyone says.  You hear it all the time right?

Large corporations do not own every food truck, yoga studio, coaching practice, bookkeeping practice, basket business, event planner, automotive services, hair services, retail stores, transportation company, home health service, cleaning service, laundry and dry cleaner, detail service, lawn service, and I can go on.  They never will.  Small businesses get to be personable.  They can customize with an attention to detail and provide a sense of trust that large corporations cannot.  Consumers like patronizing small, local businesses.  Small business employees get a different appreciation for their work because they see the direct affect to the customer, like working with a centralized community, and probably more relatable on-the-job training than at a large company.  There are benefits with working for a small company.

So why do the closest people you know constantly ask you for discounts?  Why do shoppers balk at your competitive prices?  Why is trust put into connectionless and distant companies?  Why don’t large businesses appreciate or respect you?  Why doesn’t the government give bigger tax breaks to people who make less and are working to realize the dream of themselves and others?  Why do large contractors use the unique past performance profiles of small business owners but don’t want to include them in on the big contracts that subsequently supply the big revenue to match?  More importantly, what will the new administration do in 2017 to stop manipulating and massaging the numbers like administrations past to do more than “seem like” they are meeting the magic number – 23%?

There is a Federal law that mandates a minimum of 23% of all federal contracts be awarded to small businesses. Congress also established that an additional 5% small business contracting goal for firms owned by women and minorities, as well as a 3% goal established for service-disabled veteran owned firms.  Other states, counties and cities have followed suit.  This is pretty clear cut right?  Totally transparent.

The only problem is, is that it isn’t clear cut or transparent.  Somehow, some way, the corporate giants are able to compete with the small business owners, win the bid to receive the contract met for small business owners, and agencies are given credit for awarding documents to a group that is now who you think they are.  It is widely known, yet not stopped.  They small businesses included disadvantaged, disabled veteran’s, minority, women, hub-zoned, and more.  So what is being done?

Your guess is as good as mine.  Being in the federal contracting space, I see things.  I hear things.  I witness things.  Sometimes I get a call for help because small business owners don’t know what to do.  I am not a part of a secret society.  I just read and through projects know people that have a story or two.  Some are rather disappointing.  So how do you keep your head up through all of the uncertainty in this election?  Pay attention to what is being said.  Remember the past and pay attention to the integrity of both parties.

Small businesses exist to make a difference, create opportunities, and truly work to make something better, more innovative, and dare I say, change lives.  That is why you do what you do in whatever line of work you chose.  You didn’t start a business to be abused and bullied while providing a great service that is needed.  You may need to change some things so that you are stronger and better prepared and create your own leverage.  Yes, you need to continue to hustle to make it happen but they only what to do that is to hone the information that you know so that your intelligence increases and so will your bottomline.

Let me end with this.  Small business makes a big impact.

To leverage your impact for 2017 in whatever your business is, contact L. Denise Jackson at (202) 695-3221.