Andrew Field Has a Solution

Andrew FieldI’m not putting my head in the sand. Really, I’m not.

It’s just that I believe there are a number of things that a person can do that are more productive than complaining about the economy. Why not offer a well-reasoned solution, for example.

It’s what Andrew Field did.

I met Andrew this summer on my tour through the Near West when it was recommended that I stop in Livingston, Montana. He is founder and president of PrintingForLess.com. What inspired him to try his hand at Presidential Advisor? He knew many of his small business customers nationwide were getting caught in the “triple squeeze of the new economy;”  a steady decline of revenue as a result of fear, customers paying more slowly, normal lines of credit tightened due to banking issues.  That’s a potential crisis as big as any hurricane and as destructive as any tornado.

Most small and medium businesses (SMBs) employ fewer people today than a year ago. Why do SMBs matter? They have provided most of the innovation and 80% of the new jobs over at least the last decade or more. Right now the nation’s uniquely powerful SMB job-creation engine is at risk of collapsing, with no help in sight. The current stimulus plan outline provides no meaningful help for America’s SMBs, putting half of the nation’s jobs at severe risk.

So Field spent the better part of a day to develop a small business stimulus proposal of his own which calls for access to low-interest loans based on the number of employees you maintain.

“The essence of the plan is to preserve and increase small-business jobs by letting them be used as the security for low-interest loans. Make available to small businesses $20,000 in unsecured loans for each full-time employee,” Field offered. “The logic is simple: The government is borrowing 10-year money at about 2.5%, so this plan makes it available to SMBs at 5%, with interest-only payments for the first five years and an expectation of complete repayment over the next five.”

Knowing the government’s penchant for slow-turning wheels, Field even recommended a process for getting the money into the flow, quickly. “The loans would be administered through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) direct lending capability with a one-page application form and a same-day closing. These are capabilities that the SBA already has and use in disaster relief areas,” Field said. “Employers would document their fulltime employee count by providing the most recent federal withholding tax remittance form.”

Hoping to get it some attention, he sent it to U.S. Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Andrew then shared the letter with several small business people around the country, most of who also reacted favorably to it. Struck by its originality, Forbes.com featured the plan on its home page and published it. To date, it’s still one of the most frequently read article on their site with a 97% favorable rating.

This is how we can best contribute to the “noise” that surrounds us every day: offer useful, constructive ideas, and share them with other people who have a vested interest in the success of small and medium-sized business.

Now if we could get it read and adopted by another 400 or so interested parties.

PrintingForLess.com is the first commercial online printing company in the United States. Located in southwest Montana, PFL provides unmatched technical and customer support and instant online pricing and ordering for its full color printing services.

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