Committee Hearing Highlights Small Business Strategies in a Recession

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Washington, Jul 25, 2012 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Committee on Small Business, led by Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), today showcased success strategies that helped small firms survive the challenging economy. The hearing was titled, Tales of Resilience: Small Business Survival in the Recession.

Despite the tough economy, some small businesses had successful growth strategies. The Committee examined their business models and methods of adaptability during the worst of the recession. Small firms were hit particularly hard during the economic downturn, and continue to face significant challenges in the sluggish economy. According to economists, the recession of 2007-2009 dramatically impacted small firms, with 40 percent of the overall jobs lost from small businesses. This contrasts with just 10 percent in the 2001 economic setback. The Committee heard from small business owners that highlighted some best practices for achieving prosperity despite challenges. Among those practices, they reduced costs, diversified portfolios, capitalized on emerging industries and fostered innovation.

“The nation’s economy has been stuck in neutral too long,” said Chairman Graves (R-MO). “We appreciate these great American small business success stories. They have good ideas, and they’re great examples. The owners of 27 million small businesses in America know it takes a lot to build a business. Entrepreneurs have a right to be proud of their achievements. Hard work and ingenuity pulls many small businesses through tough times, but they shouldn’t have so many unnecessary obstacles. Our nation’s job creators deserve sensible taxes and regulatory certainty.”

The Committee heard testimony from H. Todd Flemming, President of Infrasafe, Orlando, FL, on behalf of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council; Michael R. Minogue, Chairman of Abiomed, Danvers, MA, on behalf of the Advanced Medical Technology Association; Elise Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA and President, Mitchell Communications Group, Inc., Fayetteville, AR, on behalf of Women Impacting Public Policy; and Michael DiMarino, President of Linda Tool, Brooklyn, NY.

Materials for the hearing are posted on the House Small Business Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Witness Quotes:

Elise Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA and President, Mitchell Communications Group, Inc., Fayetteville, AR, on behalf of Women Impacting Public Policy, said, “It takes courage to be an entrepreneur, and there is much Washington can do to make the roadway smoother rather than more hazardous. It has been made clear that Washington recognizes the vital role of small firms in the economy and the plight of America’s job creators. But what we need to see from our lawmakers is an effort to fully consider small businesses during rule-making, facilitate access to capital and provide certainty about taxes – this will allow us to do what we do best – fuel the national economy and hire more of our neighbors.”

Michael R. Minogue, Chairman of Abiomed, Danvers, MA, on behalf of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, said, “What the Committee may not know is that the medical technology industry is heavily skewed toward small companies—the kind of companies that begin with a scientist or doctor with an idea to improve patient care. Almost two-thirds of the 7,000 medical technology firms in the U.S. have fewer than 20 employees. A high proportion of the breakthrough products in our industry come from these small, often venture-capital funded companies.

“And whether the firm is large or small, success in our industry comes only from innovation—the creation of diagnostics, treatments and cures that save and enhance lives. While we are very proud of our contributions to the U.S. economy, we are even more proud of our contributions to improving patient care.”

H. Todd Flemming, President of Infrasafe, Orlando, FL, on behalf of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, said, “A lot of hard work and sleepless nights have gone into making Infrasafe a success. Obviously, Infrasafe is faced with day-to-day challenges like any other company. The economic environment keeps us highly focused and generally conservative when it comes to risks and new investments.

“The potential headwinds we see this year and beyond are the key issues that this Committee has explored. For example, the uncertain tax environment for S Corps and LLCs; the direction of the economy and ongoing uncertainties related to costs and how this will impact commercial expansion; as well as an uncertain Department of Defense environment under the looming shadow of sequestration.”

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