America's small business owners have a "fair chance to earn success" in the 1980s despite increasingly complex obstacles, the Chamber of Commerce predicts in its annual report to President Carter on small business.
The traditional problems that plague small business have been compounded by "excesive government, inflation, taxation, regulations, increased energy costs, and shortages and uncertainty about the future." said the U.S. chamber's board chairman, Jan Van Andel.
The Chamber praised President Carter for calling a White House Conference on Small Business next month, and for his actions toward regulatory reform, tax relief and other administrative acts that lessen the problems of the small businessman.
Congress also was commended for "unmistakable signs of new interest in small business." Congress manifested that new interest by taking steps toward an improved tax code, new regulatory flexibility and other proposed improvements, the Chamber said.
The administration's creation of a Regulatory Council, which is looking for regulatory overlap or overkill, and White House appointments of small business representatives to several key boards have given new hope to the small businessman, the Chanber said.
But, the problems of being a small businessman still abound, the Chamber pointed out. These include:
Inflation. Small businessmen are in a bind, the Chamber notes, having to "pay higher prices for their raw materials and supplies," but coming under criticism "by consumers for increasing prices."
Financing. Money is tight, and costly. "Small businessmen are hampered in getting funds to invest in their businesses to increase their productivity and expand."
Regulation and Paperwork. This is a particularly tough burden on the small businessman, who often doesn't have the resources, time or expertise just to fill out government forms.
Technology and Innovation.Long the secret weapon of the small business, innovation has been slipping thanks to other demands on time and money.
Energy. The uncertainty of supply and cost of energy has made it particularly hard for small businessmen to "plan adequately for the future."
"As small business in American faces the 1980s, it is viewed as a troubled national resources," the report concludes. "There is reason to be optimistic, however, that the strengths of small business can -- must -- be unleashed to better serve our own people at home and other peoples worldwide."