Two weeks into the government shutdown with default looming and no solution in sight, America’s business opportunity and other small business owners are starting to feel the impact. According to a recent flash poll by Manta, 64% of small business owners believe the shutdown will harm the overall US economy, while nearly half of them believe it will negatively impact their small business specifically.
According to experts, if you’re a small business opportunity or other small business owner, you may be feeling the impact of all the indecision and gridlock in Washington in a number of ways, key among them are:
1. Trouble getting a loan—Any small business owner who is looking for loan approval from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will have to wait as everything from its 7(a) loan program to its 504 certified development loans are on hold. Many small business owners’ efforts to launch or expand operations are also on hold indefinitely as a result.
2. Stopped payments—Thousands of small businesses are either directly or indirectly contracted to provide products and services to the federal government, and they’re not going to get paid until this thing is over, all of which presents a huge cash flow problem for far too many of them. Meantime, given many of the products and services they provide are consumer- and public-safety related, all of us may have something to lose should they have to bring their operations to a halt.
3. Drop in tourism revenue—While some are making light of the fact that the National Park closures are no big deal, the thousands of small business owners, as well as their vendors and consultants, who are seeing their very livelihoods disrupted—perhaps irrevocably given the seasonal nature of their operations—would strongly disagree.
4. Workplace safety checks on hold—Charged with ensuring safe and healthy work conditions in the nation’s businesses, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will only be available to deal with the most threatening and dangerous situations.
5. Psychological blow to consumers—The greatest impact in all of this may be at the till for small, medium and large-sized businesses alike as consumers become more and more uncertain of what the overall impact of this whole mess will be on their own lives. Where there is fear there is a tendency to rein in spending, and the last thing we need right now is a serious decline in consumer confidence when the economic recovery is already so shaky.