Innovative ways government can help

ByGeraldine R. Pleasant

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It’s National Small Business Week, so let’s look at what America can do to actually help its small businesses thrive, not just give lip service to how small businesses are the “backbone of America,” “small businesses are what makes America great,” yada, yada, yada. Enough talk, let’s see some action.

I’ve followed small business closely for three decades and I’ve come up with a list of policies and programs that would make a real difference in improving the health of the small business sector and the lives and bank accounts of small business owners.

Here are a few things on my list.  I’ve got more suggestions than can fit in this column – so to see my full list, please go to www.planningshop.com/blog — or follow me at www.facebook.com/meetRhonda. 

Reform online ‘platform’ accountability and transparency

Online platforms like DoorDash and GrubHub often charge restaurants onerous commissions, anywhere from 30 to 55%.

To survive, many small businesses must do business through online platform companies, such as small retailers on Amazon, restaurants through services such as DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates, or other platforms that have dominance in their field. These services often take onerous commissions (30%-55%) and impose large and constantly increasing fees. They also often require that small businesses not sell their goods or services for less anywhere else. Typically, the platform “owns” the customers, meaning the small business can’t market to their own customers in the future. Let’s get all this out in the open so unfair practices and onerous fees can be seen for what they are.