Exclusive Interview: SBA Administrator Linda McMahon Says Small Business Options Improving

Linda McMahon Is Optimistic Is Optimistic About the Small Business Economy

Are you feeling optimistic about your small business these days? Or are you worried about rising health care costs, a tight labor market and rising interest rates? Perhaps you ricochet back and forth between optimism and concern?

One person who is decidedly optimistic about the American small business economy is Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Linda McMahon, who built several businesses before becoming the head of the SBA.

Small Business Tends talked to McMahon in late June about the state of small business.

Small Business Trends: What’s the state of small business these days?

Linda McMahon: Small business owners are feeling optimistic, confident and enthusiastic. They’re excited about tax cuts, rollback of regulations and the launch of association health plans (which you should be able to access September 1).

Small Business Trends: Is it getting easier to get access to capital?

McMahon: With less regulation — the rollback of Dodd-Frank — the SBA, conventional lending banks, especially community banks and credit unions can go back to the kind of lending they used to do. And the SBA is guaranteeing more loans.

Small Business Trends: You have long been involved with helping women entrepreneurs. (In 2016 McMahon co-founded Women’s Leadership Live.) What are some of the challenges woman face their struggle to get fair and equal access to credit?

McMahon: Many women’s organizations today give support to women and help them become more confident. Today there are 109 Women’s Business Centers (WBC) across the country, where women can get expert advice from women — and men — about what they need to do. Some of the greatest help women can get is to help them develop a good pitch.

SCORE, the SBDCs (Small Business Development Centers), WBCs and the SBA can help women walk through the paces, and advocate on their behalf.

[When it comes to getting equal access to credit,] we need to continue to break down barriers. Women are starting more businesses these days, and they’re resilient. We need to help them get access to more loans and seed funding.

The goal is to help small businesses grow. And we’re thrilled to see more traditional lending coming from banks.

Small Business Trends: I am always surprised when I hear almost 50% of small businesses don’t have websites. As a big believer in the value of technology, what do you think about that?

McMahon: I don’t know how you start a small business without having a website. It gives you a head up. Consumers use Google to find businesses. If you need help building a website, go to your local SBDC or SCORE office. And it’s free.

Small Business Trends: The number of startups are down. How can we encourage more people to start their own businesses?

McMahon: It’s a great time to start a business. But, we had a big recession and it takes time to recover and come back. But people are more confident and optimistic now, so more businesses will be starting.

I’m visiting all 68 SBA district offices to make sure the SBA is not the best kept secret in the country. [Small Business Trends interviewed McMahon as she visited the Santa Ana (CA) district, her 49th trip to the district since she began serving her term.] Small businesses should know about all the resources we have to help them start and grow. Check us out at SBA.gov.

Photo via Shutterstock

Image: SBA

Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.