This week, with the elections upon us, I’ve decided to post a little personal rant.  Before you get all bent out of shape and assume I’m going to endorse a candidate or local issue, take a deep breath and relax.  I want to talk about the general negativity I hear floating about for business.  On one hand, everyone wants a thriving business in their community creating jobs.  On the other hand, they want to “stick-it-to-the-man” that runs the business.  I want to briefly tackle this dichotomy – the Big Bad Business we can’t live without.

Somewhere along the way, people got calloused and bitter toward business.  Granted there are the mean, selfish bosses out there that screw their employees and even customers while on some lofty power trip.  There are even TV shows and movies that make them larger than life.  The media blows up the story of the greedy business or scam.  Somehow now, society believes if a business is succeeding its at the expense of someone else.  This is the business everyone wants in their backyard – and will fight for with tax incentives and city marketing proposals.  However, in most cases, it is the same business they have no problem demonizing if they don’t pay enough, hire enough, expand in their town, etc.  Even some in the buy local movement believe that by making it harder on big business, smaller local businesses will succeed.

Besides the inherent problems that come from the line of thinking that justifies sticking the screws to big business to force them to hand over more and more of their profits is the fact that it hurts small businesses too.

The Small Business Administration general definition of a small business is that a “business must have no more than 500 employees for most manufacturing and mining industries, and no more than $7 million in average annual receipts for most nonmanufacturing industries.”  However, the vast majority of those considered a small business, according to that definition, have less than 20 employees – almost 90%.

I remember the Enron fallout.  The lives that were ruined.  The employees who were disappointed.  The retirements that vanished.  It was tragic.  It opened my eyes to the myth that we’re sold in schools – to study hard, find a good job, work your butt off for it and it’ll take care of you.  The Dot Com bust in 2001 revealed another aspect of the job myth – that no job was secure no matter the industry.

But the truth of the matter is that this is reality.  This is life.  Whether it be multi-million dollar company or a mom-and-pop business.  There will always be rotten apples in the bunch.  Rotten teachers.  Rotten politicians.  Rotten cops.  Rotten friends.  Rotten relatives.  Rotten businesses/bosses.  The key is not to let those rotten apples turn you into an anti-business, stick-it-to-the-man individual.  In all honesty, that will harm you and the vast majority of innocent and justly-run small businesses that DO GOOD for society.

When you go out to vote, remember not to go with vengeance in mind.  Remember to not paint in a large, stereotypical brush all the businesses out there as the Big Greedy Business.  Remember that over-reaching to “stick-it-to-the-man” has a way of coming back and sticking it to your job, business and local economy.  Support your small business.  Support business.