With talking heads on the networks and cable news channels breathlessly reporting the latest updates on stalemate in Washington, it’s very easy to get caught up in waiting for Washington to solve our problems. What will they do about the fiscal cliff? What about the debt ceiling? Tax rates? Immigration?
All these things are important, but we can’t lose sight of what is more important: the American small business owner.
What we do about all these policy questions definitely affects small business owners and entrepreneurs. It is important to fight for the best possible outcomes, for policies that help small businesses and clear out the obstacles that are in their way. These things will definitely help — but in the end, they are not enough to solve the problem.
The problem we want to solve is growing the economy and making life better for everyone. Policy changes can clear the way to make that happen, but the solution in the end has to come from innovative entrepreneurs and hard-working small business owners all over the country.
Whatever the policies in Washington and state houses across the country might be, if entrepreneurs don’t step up with bold ideas, creative products, and valuable services, then none of it matters. The entrepreneur is what matters.
We will grow and solve our problems if we have smart people 1) coming up with ideas and 2) putting them into action. Policy changes won’t affect the first step, and they can only help with the second, not actually make it happen.
So while it’s important for us to look at what’s going on in Washington, we should be paying just as much attention to what people and companies are doing to spur innovation. There is no silver bullet to innovation — just constant effort and constant reinvention.
This week, I noticed two news stories that I think they could play a very positive role in real economic growth — and they represent just the kind of thinking and doing we need. We could wait for years for Washington to get its act together — or business leaders and thinkers can go out and make things happen. That’s the real action in America today.
The first was right here in my backyard. Cox Enterprises
is based in Atlanta, and owns a wide range of media businesses. At the same time, Georgia ranks very low in investment capital compared to other states. So Cox announced a commitment to $250 million in venture capital money to technology firms in the Atlanta area.
For comparison, the entire state of Georgia saw only $383 million in venture capital in 2011, the most recent year on record. Cox’s investment would be a 65 percent increase for the state in and of itself! That’s the kind of move that will help entrepreneurs with great ideas get those ideas off the ground, creating more successful, innovative companies.
The second story came from Walmart
, obviously one of the biggest companies in the whole world. Their announcement had multiple parts. Most interestingly, they would spend $50 billion over 10 years toward buying more made-in-the-USA products for their stores. That represents a great opportunity for American businesses looking for ways to get their product to consumers.
The biggest retailer in the world will be on the lookout for American products — that kind of support can do wonders for a small business entrepreneur looking for ways to market and sell his or her new idea. On top of that, they’re also going to hire 100,000 veterans over the next 5 years.
What has me excited and optimistic is that these stories aren’t the only news coming from business; there’s plenty more like that going on. Washington might be dysfunctional, but business leaders are going out there and getting it done anyway. That’s where the real solution to our problems has to come from.
Stories like these should be getting more attention — and I hope more entrepreneurs and business owners follow their lead.
Business gets demonized in the press all the time — but it’s time to change that tune. Business only succeeds in the long term when they do things the right way and create value for their customers, their workers, and their community. These are people doing the right things, the right way. Let’s applaud that.
Fran Tarkenton is the Founder and CEO of OneMoreCustomer.com, a web resource for Small Business Advocacy and Education. After his Hall of Fame football career, Fran had a successful career in television and then turned to business. He has founded and built more than 20 successful companies and now spends his time coaching aspiring entrepreneurs. Read more reports from Fran Tarkenton — Click Here Now.
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.