Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How Many Business Owners Would Be Affected Under Obama's Plan?

As the economy becomes the focal point of this Presidential Election, Joe the Plumber is still making headlines all over the place. He has already decided to endorse Senator John McCain. We've previously written about how Joe Wurzelbacher might have trouble trying to buy the business from his employer, but even if he were able to, he would join less than 2% of business owners making more than $250,000. That's the threshold of increased taxation under Senator Barack Obama's plan. According to a Small Business story:

"....even using the broad definition of small business that McCain likes, very few owners would see their own taxes rise. That's because the lion's share of taxable income comes from a small number of wealthy businesses. Out of 34.7 million filers with business income on Schedules C, E or F, 479,000 filers fall into the top two brackets, according to an analysis of projected 2009 filings by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The other 34.3 million - or 98.6% - would be unaffected by Obama's proposed rate hike."

A recent Fortune/Zogby poll showed 45% of small business owners were 'worse off' than they were three years ago. This falls in line with our recent MerchantCircle poll showing more than 55% of business owners seeing a 'moderate' to 'severe' decline in sales and revenue over the last year. Even with those results under the current administration, many small business owners seem to have separated from blaming one party or the other. 54% of members surveyed said they would vote for Senator McCain, compared to 36% for Senator Obama.

Small Business owners around the nation also weighed in on CNN:

"I'd really love to see major change in the government. I don't think the problems are going to be solved in the next four to eight years, but at least we have to start somewhere."

Read what our small business owners are saying here.

In an article on, the author argues that raising taxes under Obama's plan would mean less businesses would be interested in expanding, thus less new jobs produced.

"The economic law that 'taxing something more and getting less of it' would apply. Fewer Americans would be interested in opening or expanding small businesses. Tax evasion and legal tax avoidance would spike, as tax shelters would once again become a booming industry."
The argument on both sides for who will help out Main Street America the best, is nearing the home stretch. Less than six days remain until election day.

Community Relations

Monday, October 27, 2008

Showing Value to the Web 2.0 Small Business Community

When MerchantCircle first launched in June of 2006, the emphasis was on growth, community, and value. As the nation's first Web 2.0 social network and online directory for local business owners, we knew that community and business owners would be far more powerful than a fast-talking Yellow Page salesman in a suit. Now, nearly two and a half years later with over 635,000 members, we've been able to confirm many of our initial thoughts and continue to innovate to make sure that business owners can easily have a strong web-presence and find new customers.

Recently, I've spent some time speaking to a lot of our local merchants around Santa Clara, CA trying to find a business owner who has had a lot of experience advertising in Newspapers, Yellow Pages, and various online mediums. The Kelsey Group had asked if we had any local business owners in the area to speak on a panel on November 19 - 21. (Our own Darren Waddell will be speaking on a panel titled, The Web 2.0 Equation: Community and Viral Effects.) Many of these merchants I spoke to were biased, naturally, since they pay for advertising through us - but there was some really great insight to be heard. We already hear from thousands of merchants each month about how costly and inneffective Newspapers and Yellow Pages advertising is, but hearing about the shortfalls of online advertising through many of the large "players" in the field was relatively new.

It seems that local business owners are getting BOMBARDED with calls all the time now from online Yellow Pages directories and other online advertising firms. One business owner in Mountain View (Nunley Custom Homes) has been actively advertising his business since 1989. He told me that many of the online firms he's advertised through don't deliver, overcharge, and offer no value. I asked him why he chose to go with us next, and he said, "at least with MerchantCircle, you know what you're going to get. You already get value through your MerchantCircle listing page - and it's free."

Another business I spoke to, Treasure Islands of Santa Cruz, has been advertising with MerchantCircle for over a year. He currently averages over 7,000 visitors to his MerchantCircle listing each month and has grown his business to two locations. He regularly gets calls from merchants in his network asking him how to get the most from their MerchantCircle listing.

By showing merchants value with a free customizable web listing that helps your business have a stronger web presence, we've gained the trust of many of these merchants when it comes time for them to decide they want to start placing ads on search engines and across the web. Because we have merchants all across the country who trust and believe in the network, (blogging, creating newsletters, uploading pics, networking with other business owners), it has brought the entire network up and our merchants are our biggest promoters on the street - not slick salesmen who offer nothing but talk.

We're proud to have such an active, engaging group of business owners who have sounded off on everything from politics to business practices. They don't always agree, but they are the heartbeat of America - producing more than 2/3 of all NEW American jobs. It's important for anyone who wants the attention of local business owner to show them VALUE first.

Community Relations

Friday, October 24, 2008

MerchantCircle Interview on The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street JournalAs the financial collapse has spread from Wall Street to Main Street and back, MerchantCircle's co-founder Ben Smith was interviewed in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal. The article titled, 'Venture Capital Financing Slows Amid Economic Downturn,' talks about venture-financed companies becoming more fiscally responsible and lean to survive the economic downturn.

Ben also wrote a post a few weeks ago on the MerchantCircle blog titled, 'How to Survive the Financial Downturn.'

Be sure to read both.

Community Relations

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Small Business Help, Resources, and Loans

With many local businesses struggling due to the recent economic condition, we've launched a number of programs to help merchants save money and find more customers.
  • Marketing Advisor Program - Pays you money for each merchant you sign-on to the MerchantCircle network.
  • Merchant Marketplace - Saves you money on essential business needs and products from Fortune 500 companies.
  • Instant Website - Instead of paying a company hundreds of dollars to build you a website, buy a domain name, and host the website - MerchantCircle offers all of this for as low as $6.99 a month!

There are many government organizations that are designed specifically to help out small businesses. With the $700 billion dollar bailout, some of that money is supposed to help out local businesses. Check out these sites:

Hopefully these links come in handy.

Community Relations

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Small Business Owners Weigh In on Obama and McCain: And It's Not Pretty

Obama McCain DebateAs over 4,000 small business owners weighed in on our MerchantCircle Presidential Election Survey, more than 90 comments have been left on our survey results found here. The comments show that business owners are taking a very active, and vocal role in this year's election. The arguments for or against McCain/Palin and Obama/Biden are not always pretty. In fact, some of them border on outrageous. Here are some of the commenters against Obama say:

- "I don't know how Obama (we know what his middle name is) is so high in the polls when most people I talk to say they would not vote for him. He scares me to death!!"

- "Obama hates all that America stands for, and if he is elected it will be the begining of the end of America."

Not exactly sure what Obama's middle name has to do with his character or leadership skills or how he'll help out small businesses. Some of those against McCain have also shown little restraint:

- "He's lost his soul to win an election. We don't a need vindictive, wishy washy old troll leading this country!!"

- "If you really want 4 more years of what we have had to endure, please vote for the old guy and Gov. Avon Lady...give me a break...Just more of the Bush agenda."

Not sure what age has to do with someone's ability to lead either. Not everyone has been taken away with name-calling though, there were many comments that did focus on small business and the economy:

- "98% of small businesses make under $250,000 so they would actually benefit by Obama's plan, not McCain's. Obama wants to work from the bottom up instead of the policy we have seen for the past eight years, which is to work from the top down and hope some of it trickles down - it hasn't worked."

- "Raising taxes for anyone in this economic climate would be a mistake. Anyone who thinks that those companies who bring in 250K per year and will have higher taxes hit them won't affect those companies and individuals who bring in less are sadly mistaken. If you think unemployment is bad now wait until those tax hikes hit the employers who must cut jobs to adapt."

As the election comes down to it's final two weeks - we hope that the conversation does not become as hate-filled as some of the recent negative ads directed towards both candidates. For a look at up-to-date electoral votes for each candidate, you can check here. Here's a broad look at both candidate's proposals for Taxes, Health Care, Trade, and Startup Incentives.

Community Relations

Friday, October 17, 2008

Say it Ain't So Joe the Plumber!

JoeWell turns out Joe the Plumber's going to have a harder time buying A Newell Plumbing Repair than we thought. First of all, he isn't even a licensed plumber, which is needed for him to work in Toledo, OH. That's easily attainable, but is he even in any position to buy the company he works at? According to court documents, he owes nearly $1,200 in back taxes. When he asked Senator Obama about the $250,000 tax threshold, maybe he meant in the long-term future. To top matters off, his actual first name is Samuel and his middle name is Joe.

Check out the back and forth discussion on our comment board from small business owners weighing in on Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama. While the conversation is predominantly pro-McCain, the plumber's union does support Senator Barack Obama.

Community Relations

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Can Joe the Plumber Buy Newell Plumbing?

Joe the PlumberJoe the Plumber may face a hurdle now that the presidential campaign has brought him to the forefront of national attention. Calls to A Newell Plumbing Repairs found off MerchantCircle went unanswered, and their voice mail box was full. Sounds like business is REALLY good - that, or a ton of journalists are calling to find out more about Joe Wurzelbacher.

Joe was brought up by Senator John McCain during the third and final Presidential debate. Joe had asked Senator Barack Obama on Sunday in Holland, OH why he should be taxed more if he bought the plumbing business he currently worked at. A Newell Plumbing apparently makes more than $250,000 a year. Senator McCain's point was that no one should be taxed more during this time of economic distress.

Joe's response to being America's 'average Joe'? "Pretty surreal" according to an interview he did with the Associated Press. Let's hope that he's already closing the deal on buying the business, because this attention will bring A Newell Plumbing Repair to the top of search engine queries.

Community Relations

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Yellow Pages' Expensive 'Feet on the Street' No Longer Necessary

mcAdvisorAs the economy tightens, and business owners could use more money, MerchantCircle has launched it's Marketing Advisor program. Instead of implementing a traditional, expensive 'feet on the street' sales force, MerchantCircle has taken an approach that no one else has the membership base to attempt. By paying local business owners to sign up their business neighbors to free memberships and paid online advertising packages, Marketing Advisors can earn a reoccuring revenue each month.

By not implementing a sales force, MerchantCircle and it's Marketing Advisors pass the savings on to local business owners. Yellow Pages salesmen have to mark up their prices to pay for the production of the books, their base salary, and finally their commission - thus making Yellow Pages costly and, we've argued many times before, ineffective.

Here's an excerpt from the release:

Marketing Advisors sign-up online and can choose up to 5 zip codes for their local territory. They get access to online training and marketing materials, and they get to offer a great message to local merchants – “cancel that Yellow Pages ad and start finding customers online with MerchantCircle.” The program launched in August, and already over 700 Marketing Advisors have signed up and provided help for local merchants in over 2,000 zip codes.

Click here to read more the full press release. To find out more about how you can be a Marketing Advisor click here.

Community Relations

Monday, October 13, 2008

Down 54% to 36% Among Small Business Owners, Obama Releases Small Biz Rescue Plan

Coming on the heels of our Presidential Election Survey results, where Senator John McCain was favored 54% to Senator Barack Obama's 36% by small business owners, Obama over the weekend released a small business rescue plan. The plan would help out small businesses hurt by the financial crisis and would essentially offer tax incentives and loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Obama was quoted as saying in this article: "Small businesses employ half of the workers in the private sector in this country, and account for the majority of the job growth. But we also know that a credit crunch has dried up capital and put these jobs at risk - shops can't finance their inventories, and small firmes can't make payroll. If we don't act, we'll be looking at scaled back operations, shuttered shops, and laid-off workers."

There are some questions as to whether this plan would actually work, considering banks have already become more reluctant loaning to small companies. Read the full article here and feel free to weigh-in on on the comment board. There was a tremendous response to the MerchantCircle survey results, found here, that showed small business owners feel VERY passionately on both sides of the fence.

Community Relations

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How To Survive the Financial Downturn: Lessons from Sequoia Capital and Ron Conway

Philosopher George Santayana famously said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." If there’s anything we’ve learned from American history, and in particular, from the last 10 years, it’s that we must do our best to avoid repeating the mistakes of our past.

With free-spending ways, dot-coms in the late 90s focused on increasing market share with no attention paid towards the bottom line. Many internet companies were losing money, yet still going public on the hopes that ‘brand awareness’ and cornering their market would get them profitable. They were wrong. Their initial stock prices were wildly inflated, because investors were betting on their rise, not their value. When the dot-com bust took place from 2000 to 2002, roughly $5 Trillion dollars in market value went down with it.

As the current financial crisis has swept from the housing bust, to the mortgage industry, to lenders and banks, Silicon Valley has largely sat here watching from the wings. But as history and its mistakes tell us, this time, we must take proactive efforts so that millions (trillions was only on paper) are not lost again. Already, the reintroduction of dot-coms, known as Web 2.0, has made huge changes. No longer do freshly minted dot-coms spend millions on a Super Bowl commercial without turning a profit. No longer are web launch parties full of extravagance and hired talent. But that’s still not enough. Those who want to protect their investments and their money, are sounding the alarms early, because they can’t allow a dot-com bust to happen again.

Over the last few days, Sequoia Capital, a venture capital firm behind Apple, EA, and Google amongst other, held a meeting for their roughly 100 portfolio CEOs. The last time this happened was during the dot-com crash. The messages here were the same: Cut expenses and become cash-flow positive. Here are some excerpts from that meeting:

Mike Moritz: For those of you that are not cash-flow positive, get there now. Raising capital is nearly impossible if you’re too far off of cash flow positive.

Eric Upin: We are in the beginning of a long cycle, what we call a “Secular Bear Market.” This could be a 15 year problem. Previous recessions have averaged 17 years.

Michael Beckwith: Look at eBay (1,000 planned job cuts) – this is just the beginning.

Doug Leone: In a downturn, aggressive PR and Communications Strategy is key.
Ron Conway, an early-stage investor in Google and PayPal (and an investor in MerchantCircle), re-sent a few lessons learned during the dot-com bust. The messages aimed to help the companies he invested in not make the same mistakes of the previous generation. Below is an excerpt of his email to his portfolio companies back in 2000.

1. If you are in a funding cycle, you should raise your funding as
soon as possible and raise as much as possible.

2. Many companies are ignoring certain VC leads we've provided in
order to concentrate on the top tier only. While we have preached that in the past, this is no longer the case. Currently, top-tier VC bandwidth constraints, coupled with the market down draft, make it very important to take meetings with any VCs where you can get their attention. We have been working hard to open up this new bandwidth.

3. You must aggressively examine and pursue M&A opportunities
(unless you have over 12 months of cash reserves!) ro insure you have critical mass (including funding, customers, rolodex power, market share, cash, synergy, etc.).

4. Be realistic on valuations - they will fall so be ready and
willing to co-operate.

5. Look for corporate partners to invest so you can raise more
money. You should also consider a sale of your company to your corporate partners.

6. If you are entering a funding cycle start raising money sooner
rather than later.

7. While it's safe to say entrepreneurs have had negotiating
leverage with the "down draft" in the market, the VC community will start exercising their leverage.

The Key thing people need in operating a startup is maneuvering room. You need time to move around and time, in the startup world, is infinite if you are generating cash. Of course if you have a large amount of cash on-hand, and generating cash, you can be a consolidator. Take for instance JP Morgan Chase. As the mortgage crisis has led to the collapse of numerous financial institutions, JP Morgan was able to consolidate, or acquire, Bear Stearns & Co. and Washington Mutual at low prices. This applies to startups and small businesses as well. If you have cash on-hand and are generating cash, you can look to expand quickly, easily, and less expensively than the past.

So how do these Silicon Valley lessons apply to Main Street businesses? Like Silicon Valley startups, local businesses need to be nimble enough to adapt to a changing economic environment. On Main Street, local business owners very rarely get to make the same mistake twice, because one big mistake means you're out of business.

While we can all hope for the best, we should also expect the worst. Local business owners must heed some of the same advice towards cutting expenses:

· While it may be hard, reduce hours of your employees, and maybe even consider laying off employees until the economy recovers.

· Turn your attention to products and messages that work – minimize novelty products and the promotion of them.
· Stop advertising in the Yellow Pages. It’s costly, long-term, and often-times, ineffective. Move your advertising dollars to local internet marketing, where it’s cheap and easily adaptable.
· Beginoffering deals to get customers in the door (Buy one get one free, 20% off one item, etc.) – something you can do in real-time online and impossible in the print yellow pages.
· Network, network, network – networking with your local community to build strong relationship costs nothing, and the rewards in terms of attracting new customers and building new relationships are invaluable.

Ben T. Smith, IV
Co-Founder and Chairman, MerchantCircle

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Obama, McCain, Taxes, Small Business, and You

While we didn't hear much around the words "Main Street" this go around, there was plenty to do with taxes during the second of three debates between Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. There seems to be more blame and misleading statements this election season than any in recent memory. To get a complete rundown of all the "mangled facts" between both candidates, check out this link from Here's an excerpt below:
  • Obama said his health care plan would lower insurance premiums by up to $2,500 a year. Experts we’ve consulted see little evidence such savings would materialize.
  • McCain misstated his own health care plan, saying he’d give a $5,000 tax credit to “every American” His plan actually would provide only $2,500 per individual, or $5,000 for couples and families. He also misstated Obama’s health care plan, claiming it would levy fines on “small businesses” that fail to provide health insurance. Actually, Obama’s plan exempts “small businesses.”
Both candidates had to spend the majority of their alloted time refuting what the other was saying about them, rather than answer the questions. Here a link to a KCBS5 story about each candidate's tax policies and what they mean to small business owners. Below is an excerpt:

First, on taxes: Experts say at least three out of four small businesses pay taxes through the owner's personal income tax. Under a Barack Obama administration, couples who make less than $250,000 will either see taxes stay the same - or drop. For those making more, taxes will go up. Under McCain, there would be no changes to the current tax structure. For the small remaining group of businesses that file corporate taxes, Obama proposes leaving the corporate tax rate at 35 percent. McCain would drop it to 25 percent.
With the results from our recently released 'Presidential Survey' and updates from the MerchantCircle blog, we want to make sure you can make informed decisions this election season and beyond.

Community Relations

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Presidential Election Survey Results: Small Business Owners Support McCain over Obama by a Large Margin

Total Even as new polls suggest Barack Obama is widening his lead over John McCain amongst likely voters, 53% to 45% supporting Obama according to the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, small business owners surveyed in a MerchantCircle study overwhelmingly support McCain. The survey was conducted from September 25 to October 6 to over 4,300 small business owners in all 50 states. MerchantCircle is the largest online network of local business owners in the nation with 625,000 members.

The surveys were conducted voluntarily from business owners via email. Over 96% of the responders intend to vote in November, although 10% are still unsure which candidate will help small businesses the most.

10 questions were asked, shown below:

Q 1 - 2

Q 3 - 4

Q 5

Q 6

Q 7 - 8

Q 9

Q 10

Here are some interesting stats from breaking down the results:

  • Of those (1602 surveyed) who rated that the current administration has represented the interests of local business as “not well at all”, 75.3% indicate they will vote for Obama, 8.7% McCain, 11% don’t know; and 4.9% other.
  • 55% have seen a “Severe” or “Moderate” decline in sales and revenue over the past year; 49.4% of McCain supporters versus 40% for Obama supporters.
  • McCain had the largest margin of support from businesses with 21+ employees – 64.7% to Obama’s 27.8%. Businesses that identified themselves as having one employee had the closest margin of difference – 47.9% indicated they would vote for McCain to 42% who would vote for Obama.

For individual state break downs, or special requests for specific data, please email Jennifer Roberts at

Community Relations

Friday, October 3, 2008

Despite $700 Billion Bailout - 80% of Small Business Owners Still Not Convinced It Will Help

As we prepare Tuesday's official release of our Presidential Election Survey results, we're coming across a lot of discrepancies between the Government's message and what Main Street America believes. We also have an overwhelming response as to who Small Business Owners plan on voting for come November election time. Here's an excerpt of the release below:


Despite White House and Congressional Efforts to Persuade Main Street America the Bailout is Needed, Nearly 80% of Small Business Owners Remain Unconvinced

Los Altos, CA October 3, 2008 – Only 20.1% of local business owners surveyed around the nation believe the U.S. Government’s proposed $700 billion bailout of the financial industry will help them, according to new survey results set to be released next Tuesday. The study was conducted from September 25 to October 1 by MerchantCircle, the largest social network of local business owners in the nation. The survey results came from over 4,200 responders in all 50 states. MerchantCircle has 625,000 members across the nation.

“I think what we’re seeing here is Washington not conveying their message to Main Street America,” says MerchantCircle Founder, Ben T. Smith, IV. “Nearly 45% say the bailout will not help them out, and 35% aren’t sure. To me, that means they view this bailout as only helping out Wall Street, with little effect on the economy around them. The focus should be on how Main Street America sees this bailout – and that’s not coming across.”

To read the complete release, click here.

Community Relations

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Early Election Survey Results and Why You Should Vote

With election day just over a month away, our Presidential Election Survey is starting to yield some VERY interesting results. Amongst some of the questions to our merchant base: Will the Bailout help out small business owners? Does race or age play a factor in the way you vote? What are the most important issues to you? And of course, who do you plan on voting for? The early results, I think you'll find, are very interesting.

In particular, we have individual results in the battleground states of Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Virginia, and New Hampshire.

In the meantime, it's important that we all get out and vote - no matter your age, race, gender or economic background. Our nation is facing a historic election that will need the support of all it's citizens. You can register up until October 20th.

Go out and be heard.

Community Relations

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Understanding the Bailout: How Politics is Underpromoting Main Street in Favor of Wall Street

Part 1:

As part of the largest and fastest growing network of local business owners in the nation, it's important that myself and the MerchantCircle team spend as much time as possible talking to the local business owners that make up who we are. In this defining moment of our economic history, almost all news stories have been focused around collapsing stock prices, epic bank failures, and $700 billion dollars worth of government bailout. Lost in the mix of financial terms and rhetoric, is what the $700 billion would've meant for the working man and woman, local business owners, and the next generation. Not one story has been written about what may happen to the employees of Washington Mutual, which was the largest U.S. bank failure in history, before being bought by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Regardless, many of the business owners I’ve spoken to still understand the consequences of inaction and the trickledown effect of a sputtering economy.

While in my home state of Alabama, I've spent the last few days meeting and learning what concerns business owners and their employees. I think Washington saw the rude awakening that was in store when they failed to properly gauge the viewpoints of everyday business owners. Some congressional leaders were bombarded with calls from their constituents at a clip of nearly 200 to 1 - against the $700 billion dollar bailout. The vote was 13 votes short of passing, with a final of 228 to 205. While it's still up for debate on whether the failed resolution will cause a complete collapse of the U.S. economy, the Dow Jones industrial average did sink 777 points because nothing was done. That’s about a $1.2 trillion drop in value of all the companies publicly traded on the Stock Exchange – hurting many with a pension or 401K plan.

In theory, the $700 billion dollar bailout would've kept banks open to small business owners in the form of mortgage loans, business loans and other consumer borrowing. In recent weeks, banks and firms had stopped loaning to each other as depreciating home values and foreclosures wiped out the possible pool of money available to loan to small businesses. The bailout would have allowed the government to purchase troubled assets from these financial institutions, which, in theory, would allow banks to regain confidence in lending.

It doesn't help financial institutions when customers withdraw money in droves. For every one dollar that comes out of a bank, that's essentially 12 less dollars in the U.S. money supply. Which is essentially the reason behind the collapse of Washington Mutual. This may also have an adverse affect all across the board, which is why the government feels it needs to step in immediately. If the banks stop lending money, then everyone will be broke and stop buying things. If people stop buying things, every company will lose revenue, which could then lead to job cuts and a deeper recession.

Much of what the government overlooked was how the rest of the nation would see this resolution. The way that it was reported, made the bailout seem like this would rescue big institutions, when for years, many small business owners have been struggling with no intervention from the government. The bailout would have done little around directly helping out those whose are in danger of losing their homes and facing foreclosures. To put the $700 billion in context, there’s about 25 million estimated small business owners in the nation according the U.S. Census. If the government were to distribute that bailout money amongst the nation’s business owners, that’s about $28,000 for every merchant to try and grow their business and the economy. Distributed equally between the nation’s 300 million people? That equates to about $2,300 a person.

While speaking to businesses such as Pink Pony in Gulf Shores, AL, Paradise Marine, Sportsman's Marine in Fairhope, AL; Bay Breeze, The Charter Boat MAR-T on Dauphin Island, and Julwin’s Restaurant in Fairhope, AL amongst others the last few days, I learned that many of them have cut their work force in half over the last few years. With a loss in sales, these business owners saw the bailout as necessary to stave off further economic disaster from future bank failures. It’s the masses who shop on Main Street who see the bailout as using tax payer dollars to help out the upper crust of Wall Street. There is no way the bailout will not cause outrage from everyday citizens, especially when so little is advertised for those who are struggling. If a new resolution hopes to pass, it would be better served if the White House and Congress spoke directly to Main Street consumers about how this resolution is helping them out directly and not just bailing out the “greed” in Wall Street. Many in local communities spend little time checking the Dow Jones industrial average, as they worry about problems that are closer to home and economic conditions that have forced them to lay off their employees and find new methods towards acquiring new customers.

This bailout is critical to local business owners, but the positioning towards Main Street America is wrong. Small business owners I’ve spoken to have expressed to me that the nation needs a working bank system for running their business and consumers need to have credit. This bailout cannot ONLY be seen as bailing out Wall Street. The consequences must be seen on a more ‘local’ level. Often times, the most vocal constituents are the ones who disagree with something. Many of the business owners and employees I spoke to did not know how to go about reaching their local representatives or even if they would listen. Well, with the failed bailout, it’s obvious, many representatives listened to their constituents. It’s time YOU voiced your opinion as well – for a list of contact information you can click here to find a link. When the next bailout proposal hits, let your congressman know how you feel.

Ben T. Smith
Co-Founder and Chairman, MerchantCircle

In next week's Part 2: read about what you should do as a business owner and how you can protect yourself.