Small business owners often get paid lip service by our policymakers, but rarely are their voices truly heard. From taxes to licensing, regulation to healthcare–policies crafted in Washington and in state houses across the country are often far from ideal.
If I’ve learned anything at Thumbtack it’s that business owners feel the effects of these policy choices more than anyone else. Whether it’s fighting outdated licensing rules or debating minimum wage, independent professionals want more from our government.
Which is why I was so excited to attend Small Business Majority’s Leadership Summit this May. The three-day event brought over 100 small business owners from across the country to Washington, D.C. They came to exchange views with policymakers while sharing tips on what it’s really like to run a business in America.
What do professionals want to talk about?
From Montana to New Jersey, professionals came together to talk about their most important issues. A few of the topics discussed included:
- Access to capital
- Tax policy
- Healthcare, minimum wage, family medical leave and retirement
- Adopting new technology
- Updated policies addressing the needs of growing freelancers
Each business owner selected to attend came with their own experiences to share. For example, Sarah Calhoun, founder of Red Ants Pants, took to her local newspaper to discover what fellow Montanans wanted her to bring up. As a founder who started a company in a rural area, one of her key points was to push “a long-term investment strategy into our rural roads, pipes and broadband for businesses and families.”
“Shaping the Future of the American Economy”
Over the course of three days pros like Sarah met with top lawmakers and members of the Obama Administration. The Summit facilitated panel discussions, keynote speeches from the CEO of Small Business Majority, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and others, as well as workshops and presentations by successful entrepreneurs.
It was an amazing event and I was honored to attend and co-sponsor The Thumbtack Technology Award Presentation. The winner was Virginia McAllister or Iron Horse Architects Inc. Iron Horse Architects is a national leader in the implementation of BIM (Building Information Modeling) in the United States.
One of my big takeaways was that small business owners have a thirst for advice from the experts. I loved watching small business owners, using Thumbtack or not, trade notes and share their best resources with each other. A few questions I heard again and again:
- What’s the best way to accept payments from clients?
- Which online tools (scheduling, bookkeeping, etc) are worth the investment?
- What are some effective marketing strategies to attract new customers?
If you could have attended this event, which issues would you want discuss in Washington? On a smaller scale, what resources are you craving to help your small business grow faster and run smoother?