NSBA Leadership Meets in D.C.June 15, 2016
More than 100 small-business leaders from across the country met in Washington, D.C. on June 6 and 7 for the NSBA Small Business Leadership Conference. The conference was centered around networking, problem-solving, building skills and knowledge on communicating their stories and the challenges of being a small business.
The conference kicked off with luncheon speaker Jared Nichols, a deep futures strategist executive advisor, speaker, and coach. He provides the tools to help leaders and organizations gain competitive advantage, seize new market opportunities, drive in new revenue, and increase profits. As a member of the NSBA Leadership Council, he is focused on equipping small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) with the ability to anticipate change and influence public policy in favor of small business growth.
The afternoon was loaded with great information from two guests who provided information on ways small businesses can better understand and influence the media, as well as ways to appropriate messaging when providing interviews. Kent Hoover, Washington Bureau Chief for Bizjournals.com and Deirdre Willits led this discussion which focused on the dos and don’ts of talking to the media followed by a best practices session with an attendee.
Former Pennsylvania 4th District Congressman, Ron Klink, currently Senior Policy Advisor at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough advised participants on how to effectively talk to their legislators and get their concerns heard. The most important point he informed the group was to tell your legislator what you want right away and be succinct. You are visiting with a purpose – cut to the chase!
The day was brought to an end with a dinner cruise on the Potomac aboard the Cherry Blossom, an authentic split sternwheeler and re-creation of a 19th century Victorian riverboat. Attendees were from all parts of the country and what better way to see our Nation’s Capital from the Potomac River.
The following day, conference attendees headed to Capitol Hill, where the group heard Robert Burns of AXA Equitable, an NSBA corporate partner, on Social Security and planning for retirement. Some easy tips he offered were estimating your benefit on the Social Security calculator which gives a snapshot of what else one may need to plan for. According to AXA’s 2015 Financial Planning Survey retirement planning is often pushed back to focus on business growth. On average 70 percent of wealth is invested in growing the company. Forty-two percent of business owners state that developing a retirement plan was their most pressing financial challenge and only 13.8 percent of small businesses sponsor a retirement plan and only 30 percent of small-business owner’s state they will rely primarily on Social Security in retirement.
The next portion of the program was an interactive exercise provided by the Campaign to Fix the Debt, and was conducted by Marc Goldwein, Senior Vice President & Senior Policy Director of The Committee for Responsible Federal Budget. Each group of approximately ten participants collaborated to find ways to make Social Security solvent using the Fix the Debt website. Upon completion each group presented on how they solved the debt crisis.
The final discussion of the morning centered on small business start-ups, featuring: Marie Johns, Former Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses; John Dearie, Acting CEO of the Financial Services Forum; and John Lettieri, Co-Founder and Senior Director for Policy and Strategy of the Economic Innovation Group. The panel discussed the difficulty in keeping and starting a business – top issues remain access to capital and over-regulation.
The conference concluded with a closing luncheon featuring Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business. The chairman explained that he knows the difficulties faced by the members he serves and is determined to move the business owner’s agenda forward.