Wait for it...
Did you hear that? That was the sound of seawater flooding another compartment of the great vessel responsible for job creation, ongoing innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit long since forgotten by many companies not on this ship's passenger list.
The cause is not an accident. Critical hatchway's are being opened by opponents and opportunists who through political and corporate posturing (and nefarious activities), are working hard to sink the collection of government programs providing assistance to legions of small and microbusinesses often referred to as the 'backbone' of the U.S. economy by pundits and practitioners.
Beyond the typical opposition to anything creating benefit for the underdog, there is an ever-increasing chorus of activity calling for the demise of set-aside programs related to government contracting. This includes a combination of:
- detractors who believe all contractors are unnecessary;
- those who prefer the perceived safety and security of working with an organization with the cash reserves to buy small countries, and;
- inaction of those elected to positions to effect meaningful change.
All of this contributes to the methodical chipping away of the foundation of these programs.
Not sure what I'm talking about?
Et Tu Brute? The damage done is not always from external sources. Unfortunately, small businesses are often our own worst enemy. As I mentioned in my blog Survivor: Federal Contracting Island, many advocacy organizations have been stood up over the years, most being in it for the right reasons.
The feedback that played a role in Maggie and I creating The ASBC had to do with infighting among these organizations viewed by government agencies and from the ranks of the intended benefactors. Each socioeconomic designation recognized by government contracting has multiple legislative, advocacy and professional organizations serving their communities, effectively working against one another.
The common theme is these groups place emphasis on being Small Disadvantaged, Women-Owned, 8(a), Alaskan Native, Veteran and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned, Native American, etc. and have forgotten they are small businesses, first and foremost.