Entrepreneurs need to influence the election by voting.
Small business owners often go into business for themselves because they want control. Control of their lifestyles, how they run their businesses, how they treat employees. One of the things that's been difficult this year is that too much has been out of their control. With alow growth in the U.S., economic turmoil in Europe and, sadly, a deadly Hurricane that swept across the East Coast, it's hard to be too optimistic.
While the most recent government report shows a gain of 171,000 jobs (unless the figure is later revised), the unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a point to 7.9%. Part of the reason is that more people are looking for jobs, but unemployment is still too high. And SurePayroll data shows the job gains don't reflect what's really happening with small businesses.
In October, the SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard found only 68% of small business owners are optimistic about the small business economy. And optimism has hovered in the 60s most of the year. When times are good, small business optimism is usually around 80% because entrepreneurs are naturally that way.
SurePayroll's hiring and average paycheck numbers are similarly uninspired; in October, hiring among the 40,000 small businesses we track, was down 0.1% and paychecks were down 0.2%. These downticks are similar to what we've seen throughout the year.
The good news, though, is that the take charge group that is the small business community finally has a chance to be heard on Nov. 6. Regardless of where your political allegiances lie, there's no better use of your time then to get out and vote, and assert the power and control you have in determining where this economy and country is going.
At this point, it seems like we've been waiting forever for this election to play out and now we can control our destiny. As someone who helped start a small business and who now works exclusively with small businesses, I know controlling our destiny is what we're all about. Let's not let this key decision-making moment go to waste.
MICHAEL ALTER is president of SurePayroll, America’s leading online payroll service. He received an MBA from the Harvard Business School and holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Northwestern University. @michaelalter