In the heat of a political campaign, a candidate can be forgiven for the occasional gaffe. It happens to them all. But what happened to President Obama on July 13 was something else: the accidental expression of exactly what he believes.
You’ve probably heard the sound bite: “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own,” said the president of the United States. “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
The statement was just the latest piece of evidence that, deep down, President Obama believes business is inherently selfish; that the successful got to where they are by taking advantage of others; that business needs government to stimulate innovation, economic growth, and hiring.
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Naturally, there has been a lot of political commentary about the president’s thinking. However, the most important and compelling commentary comes from the American people, in the form of the latest Rasmussen poll: “72% Believe Small Business Owners Primarily Responsible for Their Own Success.” The analysis of the poll concludes: “Most Americans believe entrepreneurs who start businesses do more to create jobs and economic growth than big business or government. They also believe overwhelmingly that small business owners work harder than other Americans and are primarily responsible for the success or failure of their businesses.” Only 13 percent disagree.
I often tell people that my politics are not Republican or Democratic; my politics are small business. That’s one thing I know and believe in passionately.
I have built more than 20 successful small businesses over the past 20 years. Yes, I had a lot of help from other entrepreneurs, partners, and employees. But ultimately, it all came down to me; it was on me whether I would put in the effort and take the risks that building a business requires.
I know small business people all over the country. I know that small business is not just the most powerful engine of economic growth in America; it is also our most democratic form of business.
About 50 percent of small business entrepreneurs are women. Minorities have greater representation in small business than in big business or in government. Small business is the stepping-stone to success for millions of Americans of every race, creed, age, gender, or national origin.
That’s the way it has been for 236 years in America. Let’s hope that’s the way it will be for 236 more!
Because I am for small business, I am against Barack Obama’s re-election. I have very seldom gotten involved in presidential politics. I’ve been too busy building my own companies — as they say, “Minding my own business!” But I believe this is a critical mission for small business and for all American families. I have no choice but to get involved.
Simply put, Barack Obama should be fired from his job as chief executive of this country. None of us in small business would survive four years of the kind of failure he has presided over. If Barack Obama were the CEO of a small company, the manager of a yogurt shop, or the coach of an NFL team, he would be fired.
There’s one chance to do that, and it is the election this November. Every day between now and then, I believe every small business person in America should take time to make sure that their voice is heard: Small businesses matter, and success takes effort. It isn’t handed to you, nor do you get it by trampling on others and not caring about your customers, employees, and partners.
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The American small business community is the engine of American innovation and ingenuity. And that has only happened precisely because great entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and others built their companies through years of hard work and visionary leadership.
We need to celebrate that success and inspire others to follow their example, not trivialize their efforts and rationalize away their accomplishments.
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.
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