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How government rulings are helping small businesses

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December 13
9:56 AM 2017

How government rulings are helping small businesses

If you're running a small business, you're bound to be concerned about the impact of government actions on your ability to stay afloat. Small businesses often work within extremely tight margins, so they're very vulnerable to changes in regulation and support, made by people who may not have much understanding of what they do. They need the freedom to develop in a way that fits the demands of the market, and they may need support to overcome barriers; for instance, by ensuring that competition is fair and that they don't face an undue tax burden. What do you need to know about how rulings are changing at the moment?

Accessing government help

If you need a financial boost to help your business grow, there are three main ways in which you can apply for help from the government:

SBA loans - if you qualify for its support, the Small Business Administration can help you by guaranteeing up to 85% of loans up to $150k and 75% of loans above that value, making it much easier for you to raise investment capital. You will need to undergo a credit check but the approval process is very quick.

State government grants - if you are running a type of business that the state government considers important to your local area, you may be eligible for a grant to support it. Most grants have spending restrictions attached and some work on a matched funding basis, but you won't have to worry about paying the money back.

Local government aid - local governments offer both grants and loans to many different types of businesses according to a range of criteria, the most important of which is usually job creation, so this is a great way to seek help if you want to expand your team to take advantage of new opportunities.

VETS First

If there's one group of people who really need help when it comes to getting their businesses off the ground, it's military veterans. Entering the job market without a record of conventional employment, they often find it difficult to secure jobs, and their practical skills and familiarity with hard work make starting up their own companies a great option. Indeed, some of the politicians working to support small businesses have had similar experiences. Tennessee Senator Mark Green trained in medicine in the military and toured Afghanistan before starting up a healthcare foundation.

Among other things, VETS First aims to help veteran-owned businesses get priority access to federal contracts. It remains to be fully implemented but could make a big difference to the reintegration of former troops at home.

Regulations under review

Many small business owners have expressed concern about costs associated with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Although there have been delays in finding a replacement that meets the needs of all concerned, the government is continuing to look at ways this might be achieved.

Acting on executive orders from President Trump, reviews of the Clean Power Plan and the definition of the Waters of the United States are underway, potentially making it easier for small businesses to undertake new development on land they own and to utilize cheaper sources of power.

The Trump administration has frozen a ruling that would have raised the salary level below which employers are obliged to provide overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Further analysis of the likely effect of such a ruling, with respect to wages, hours worked, and the potential impact on small businesses is underway.

The Trump administration has proposed rescinding a ruling that would have required the reporting of legal advice related to labor relations issues. The ruling would also have made fees and arrangements relating to such advice a matter of public record. Concern was expressed that business owners might refrain from seeking advice if they felt unable to protect company secrets when doing so.

The administration has requested that the compliance date for the establishment of a publicly searchable database containing details of workplace injuries and illnesses be extended to allow for a review of the ruling from which it stems.

Keeping up to date on government rulings is well worth your while if you want to make the most of opportunities available to your business. In a rapidly changing world, you need to be constantly ready to adapt and secure your position in the market, so you need to know that the government understands your concerns and is on your side.

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