A voice from the trenches

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If you want to understand what a small business owner is going through, spend the time to read this - from Washington Rebel:
Night Sweats of a Small Businessman
For the umpteenth time this year I find myself in the middle of the night sweating out yet another payroll. The persistent numbers tallied on each side don�t work. If I pay myself I can�t pay rent. If I pay the supplier I can�t pay the taxes. If I pay the accountant, I can�t pay the utilities. On and on it goes and it didn�t used to be this way. My business is related to the construction industry and we�ve seen an 80% decrease in revenue while getting stuck with bills and loans and even advertising geared to the previous income.

My company used to pay the bills it had incurred and the bills of seven other families. Now, it can�t even pay the bills of the two of us left. I�ve done all I can to bring the expenses down: I�ve readjusted loans; I�ve sold equipment; I�ve dropped lines of work that were labor intensive; I�ve dropped phones no longer needed; I�ve used up as much of the paid for supplies as I had laying around the shop; I�ve done as much of the mechanic work as I could do myself, with the tools I have.

By the skin of my teeth I have stayed in business working 12-16 hour days, blogging from the office in the morning and as you can see, when I can�t sleep for all the spinning troubles in my head. And no, this is not a poor, poor pitiful me diatribe. I can do something else. I have skills and abilities that could pay me three or four times what I am making now, working for myself. See, all I have to do is claim bankruptcy and move on. Yeah, maybe I�ll have to repay some of the outstanding accounts with my new salary, I don�t expect to wipe my past clean with bankruptcy, but here is the part where I thought it important enough to relate my personal situation: I am not unique.

I am Joe-small-buisnessman. I am every other slob who expected the world to keep turning at the same pace, with predictable income and expenses, who saw obligations meet revenue. Even in the good times it wasn�t easy, but it was on a schedule and with time it would all be paid off.

So, when Obama comes up with SBA loans for all of us small business people, we laugh. What good is another loan we can�t pay for? Tax credit? What on earth am I supposed to do with a tax credit? A tax credit on what? I am LOSING money, I don�t need to offset GAINS, moron. The ability to depreciate equipment purchases immediately instead of over five years was a good idea, if I needed MORE equipment, but not if I need LESS.
Our business is a grocery store and we are fully set up on food stamps (SNAP) and the WIC program and people still need to eat. Our prices are honest and we have a lot of local business as well as the tourist dollars. That being said, we are seeing a lot of shifts in buying habits and actually, a large increase in local shopping as we are 25 miles away from Bellingham and people initially think that they are saving gas money by shopping with us and then they compare prices and see that we are very competitive with the B'Ham stores (the store operates in Galt mode...) The East County 'enjoys' a 17% unemployment rate and the rate for Construction is in the terlit -- no new houses are being built. This area has a big logging economy so a lot of the mills are operating on a shoestring. The sooner we get out from under the big government mentality, the better.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on October 12, 2010 10:51 PM.

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