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Regulations Help Level the Playing Field, Small Businesses Say


Small-business owners see their top problem as weak customer demand, not government regulations, a new national survey says. In fact, small-business owners see government standards as an important tool to level the playing field with big businesses. The poll was commissioned by the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance and Small Business Majority.

"These survey results underscore what Main Street small-business owners have been saying all along: we need more customers, more demand, not deregulation," said Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, Ore., and a leader with the Main Street Alliance. "In fact, I've seen first-hand from over 35 years in the auto industry that smart standards help create jobs and promote innovation in the U.S. economy."

A poll of 500 small-business owners nationwide found that 78 percent of small businesses believe regulations are needed to protect small businesses from unfair competition. And 86 percent see regulations as a necessary part of a modern economy.

"With football at the top of everyone's mind, if we played the game with no rules, the Super Bowl winner would come down to which team was bigger or willing to play dirtier," said Frank Knapp, Jr., Vice Chair of the American Sustainable Business Council.  "Well, regulations are the rules of the game we call private-sector competition. An overwhelming percent of small-business owners agree that without fair regulations creating a level playing field, small businesses won't be able to compete against big businesses."

In fact, when asked what would do the most to create jobs, the top response from small-business owners was eliminating incentives to move jobs overseas. Reducing regulation came in fifth place. Slightly more than a third (34 percent) said their most pressing problem was weak customer demand.

 "Despite the heated rhetoric, regulations simply aren't small businesses' top concern," said John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. "Small businesses can be the jobs engine we need to jumpstart the economy, but not if legislators are focusing on something that isn't their top problem. Policymakers should listen to what real small businesses are saying and act accordingly."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and held a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.