As the economy went south at the end of 2008, businesses around the country – large and small – were hit hard. Many large companies laid off thousands of employees (CitiGroup, AT&T) and others went completely under (Circuit City, Lehman Brothers). With the big guys going down fast, it’s easy to imagine what happened to many of the little guys.
After the economy tanked, Americans were forced to reexamine their career choices, and some decided to take a completely different path than they had originally planned. In October 2009, the national unemployment rate hit a peak of 10.1%, and hovered around 10% during November and December of that year.*
While the economy is slowly coming back and unemployment rates are gradually going down (the national rate was at 9.6% in August), budding entrepreneurs may still be afraid to take the leap and start their own business.
Now, more than ever, small business opportunities are important to the United States economy. Large companies are starting to hire new employees once again, and the government has shown that it understands the impact of small businesses and is wholeheartedly encouraging small business opportunities to push forward. Starting a business is a valuable function of the American Dream, and it is yet another way to add more jobs to a lagging economy.
On September 27, President Obama signed the $30-billion Small Business Jobs Act, a bill that will give America’s small businesses support and incentives to help them grow and hire. The bill includes a series of small-business proposals that the President put forth earlier this year, and small businesses were able to reap the benefits the very day the bill was signed.
The measure includes eight business-oriented tax cuts, and accelerates payouts on existing loan programs. Obama commented upon signing that the measures would have fast-acting effects on the small business community, which both political parties are appealing to in an effort to increase jobs.
A White House fact sheet describes some provisions in the new law:
The bill immediately extended SBA Recovery Act provisions, and within a few days it restarted the SBA's Recovery lending, beginning with the more than 1,300 small businesses that have been waiting to get the credit they need. Additionally, thousands more should benefit in the coming weeks.
The bill also includes eight new small-business tax cuts — all effective as of October 4, and applies to small businesses' taxes for 2010 — providing an immediate incentive for businesses to make new investments and grow.
Here are some examples of the way the bill is designed to assist and encourage small businesses:
- Small businesses that buy new equipment can immediately write off the first $500,000 of those investments.
- If you are one of over one million eligible small businesses, key long-term investments in your company will be subject to zero capital gains taxes.
- Entrepreneurs that take a chance on a new idea and explore a new business opportunity can deduct the first $10,000 of their start-up costs.
- Those that are self-employed can deduct 100 percent of the cost of health insurance for themselves and their family from their self-employment taxes.
For more information on the new bill, click here: http://bit.ly/aTfZTl
In order for the economy to return to the heyday that existed just a few years ago, small businesses need to continue to be formed, as well as grow and thrive. It is a combination of all the different shapes and sizes of businesses that make the U.S. economy flow, which means now just might be the perfect time to start your own small business.
*Unemployment rates can be found here: http://bit.ly/zGGea