Jobs and Business
This information would be pooled by SBA accountants... and categorized by counties and states. The financial status of each state would be entered as a determining factor. Thus... a picture could be drawn about employment opportunities, business opportunities, and the type of products that would have a market there. It would know if counties needed an infrastructure boost... to support the basics of government services with a tax base.
The program would actively recruit groups of people to influx into an area in order to revitalize its economy. A network would be set up to connect those needs of a town or city with people who are interested in those opportunities. Skilled workers (plumbers, electricians, etc) in one area could be recruited to another area with a shortage of those particularly skilled workers.
County SBA fund offices would have a RESOURCE LIBRARY in which would be found catalogs of every product made in the U.S. Clients would take a basic management and record-keeping course (1 month's time), and another course that applies to the specific area they choose-- food safety, etiquette, retail strategy, etc. (another month's time). In conjunction with these classes, a client will begin working with a counselor to decide what service or business he will design.
Some new small businesses will become producers of wholesale goods... and have a catalog of their products in the RESOURCE LIBRARY, too. There would also be lists and notices of needed services that are currently known and available in the area, or other areas... and the status of rural revitalization projects going on around the country. Needs matching needs.
The small towns in our country are suffering from the loss of their populations. Homes can be had in these communities for a few thousand dollars. In order to create a healthy eco-system in communities, you need owners of businesses and you need customers. Rebuilding these little towns by encouraging unemployed families to move there... in groups so that the market can become vital... will create an entirely new group of interactive businesses.
Rural areas should take note of the concept used by the Florida Orange Growers... that eliminated the middleman and took those profits for themselves, saving their farms. Employing local residents, rural areas could produce many kinds of food products from their crops... using family recipes for breads, cakes, pickles, canned goods... to be marketed in their nearby cities. (better than "national brands"!)
Business Partnerships are ideal in that they would allow backup for any emergencies and workloads. Clients would have a class to learn the ways to make a partnership work, and counselors could walk them through the difficulties that arise as the business builds. Partnerships are ideal for handicapped persons to join with another person or group.
The U.S. Patent Office should be streamlined and organized to work patents swiftly. The SBA fund can approve the cost of drafting blueprints for promising inventions, so they can be submitted for a patent. A new influx of interesting products made in America could help to improve our trade deficits. The SBA fund will work with inventors to find ways to get their products on the market.
Every embassy of the United States should also carry a RESOURCE LIBRARY of American-made products.
State and local licensing agencies should completely revamp their outdated requirements for certain types of businesses, so that they are realistic for micro-businesses and small entrepreneurs. These simplified regulations would be made easily available to anyone looking to develop a small business.
These business loans would be small, and easy to pay back to the fund-- less than a degree in a university might cost. All monies must be accounted for. The key to the success of the fund is in the initial counseling and the advisory follow-up. The fund will contract with successful business-owners or retired businessmen in the community (at perhaps $100 a-month per client) to monitor and assist the new business-owner as he works out the kinks of his business. This advisor would also assist in requesting a supplemental loan, if needed.
Commercial equipment can be rented, perhaps from a "needed rental business" list in a community. Restaurant equipment and other professional types of equipment can be rented to these new entrepreneurs as they start their businesses. The managers of the fund will work with counselors to suggest other types of businesses that complement the needs within the fund. Clients will see this notice in the library and want to choose to run such a business that will have a guaranteed need.
Counseling will continue until the loans are repaid, after which, hopefully, a relationship will have formed with the advisor who could be called on now and then. Classes would be available, too, about taking the next step-- expansion.
Creating markets for goods
The formation of co-ops that pool their resources... buying luxury items or large practical items... sharing between the group would immensely expand the sales of American made products. It would increase the consumer base that can buy large ticket items. A blueprint for forming co-ops could be made available to the public.
JOB EXAMPLES: (just to start with)
1. Snack bars: Any building, business, or office where 30 or more people work should be encouraged to have an in-house snack bar. With a simple kitchen and a serving bar, one or two people could serve fresh breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and drinks-- a better choice than vending machines or rushed lunches. Contractors need only take a basic course in food safety, retail skills, and applicable law-- and love to cook.
2. Private taxis: Drivers and clients know each other. Taxi clientele can register, for a fee, and schedule commutes or rides which they'll pay for as a fee or per mile. This could provide services for such things as picking kids up from school, taking kids to ballet or soccer, avoiding parking problems when shopping, avoiding having to drive after a night on the town... done on an appointment-only basis. This could be a partnership with several people running it alternately 24-hours a day.
3. Teen employment: Create a temporary employment agency for teens 12-18 years old. Private citizens would contract for housecleaning, spring-cleaning, yard work, car washing and detailing, window washing, pet baths... and other tasks that could use their assistance.
4. Beautification: Encourage businesses and home owners to improve the value of their property with landscaping, repairs, or improvements, as well as power-washing driveways, adding sidewalks, mending fences, adding patios. Encourage successful businesses to donate gardens to public areas and parks, and to pay a contractor to maintain it on a yearly basis. The business could display their name and service-- making it an advertising expense. Generous donors could supply local parks with playground equipment, installed by a contractor.
5. Advertising: The handicapped or elderly could supplement their income by becoming an advertising agent for one business, or work through a temporary employment agency for these special people... wearing hats or T-shirts to ball games, malls, and other events... displaying ads on their cars or homes... giving away free samples at stores or malls. When they have a need, there should be someone willing and ready to hire them.
6. Home Services: To allow the elderly to stay in their own homes, Medicaid should sponsor contractors with simple nursing skills to spend part of each day tending to the needs of these people-- making sure medicine is taken and that they are clean-- that they have food to eat and the house is safe. These easy special skills can be learned quickly.
Counselors at the SBA fund would work to make a good fit for clients and the community. Even handicapped, retired persons, and others could be a partner in a business-- answering the phone, cleaning equipment, or running a cash register-- with people that are proven trustworthy, so that the handicapped are not taken advantage of.
I can envision a future where all workers will be contractors-- both employer and worker agreeing to the "conditions of employment"--oops-- call it "contract parameters." This would make everyone's life more predictable... employers who must train their employees, as well as employees who depend on having a particular income and whose careers can follow their own design. The contracts assure that no one can be fired without preparation to replace that income... and no one can quit without allowing the owner to train someone.
The benefits of managing one's own business, and controlling one's own destiny, are many. People with children can design a business that allows them to keep infants with them, or to be with their school-aged children after school. Children would learn business concepts and contribute to this family business; they would learn social skills, task skills, and a sense of responsibility matched with truly earned money. It reinforces families, in a natural and spontaneous way... and lifts up the whole society. Control over one's own time, and truly making one's own decisions-- IS... the dream we'd all like to live.