The cost of government regulations is staggering and it's a cost that only goes one way: Up.
I just clicked over to the Federal Register website, where you can search and access regulations published since 1994 and on one single Monday, 26 new rules were published.
There's an old saying about "the straw that broke the camel's back." While no single regulation will break small business, it seems to me that they certainly have small business crawling around on its knees.
How regulations hit small businesses
Because small businesses must spread regulatory costs over smaller facilities, smaller numbers of employees and smaller annual sales, those costs have a much bigger impact than they do on big businesses. For example, if a small business has to get an environmental impact report in order to erect a new building, the firm that conducts the study doesn't give a "small business discount."
But while we often hear these complaints, we seldom see anyone do anything concrete about the problem.
That just changed. Enter Rethink Red Tape
The National Association of Manufacturers and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC), in partnership with the International Franchise Association and Women Impacting Public Policy recently launched a coalition and advocacy campaign called Rethink Red Tape.
The idea behind the campaign is to engage and work with lawmakers in Washington, D.C. as well as those in many states to get them to start listening to small business owners and do something about reversing this tide of increasing regulations.
"The men and women who own and operate American startups and small businesses say complex and expensive regulations are among the biggest challenges they face when starting or growing their businesses or creating new jobs," said Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of SBE Council.
"Through Rethink Red Tape, we hope to change that. We need smarter regulation that balances the need to protect our families, consumers and the environment while promoting a thriving small business economy," Kerrigan added.
Small business owners empowered
The project has a lot to offer small business owners. If you sign up for their email list, you'll be included in updates as the group takes action. You'll discover ways you can participate.
Further, the website is a clearing house of pertinent information. Study up and make good points the next time your representatives in Congress hold townhall meetings. Share information with other local business owners. If your representatives hear the same message from a variety of local business owners, the lawmakers will have to take notice.
Make your voice heard
Why not gather some facts and write an op-ed piece for your local newspaper? Let the general public know how stifling these regulations are. Can you imagine what the impact would be if the movement to bring sanity to federal regulations got as much attention in the media as the movement to boost the federal minimum wage to $15. And frankly, I think far more people would benefit by reducing the regulatory burden on small businesses than would benefit by a higher minimum wage.
No matter how you plan to participate, you owe it to yourself and the future of your small business to take a look at the Rethink Red Tape website and get up to speed on the problem.