small businessIn a new national poll commissioned by the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance, and Small Business Majority, small business owners named weak customer demand, not standards and safeguards, as the most important problem facing their businesses right now. In fact, a majority of the small business owners surveyed agreed that fair, effective regulation of business is necessary to ensure competitiveness and fairness in a modern global economy. Small business owners expressed support for policies that ensure environmental health, food safety, and worker protection for customers and communities.

The polling surveyed a politically diverse cross-sampling of small business owners (50 percent identified as Republican) with fewer than 100 employees. Small business owners cited weak customer demand as the most important problem they face, with more than twice the number of employers citing it over any other issue. The rising cost of health coverage and other benefits came in second, and the level of government regulation came in at a distant third.
Similarly, small business owners do not view cutting regulations as a solution to the nation's ongoing jobs shortage. When asked what would do the most to create jobs, the majority cited eliminating incentives for employers to move jobs overseas. Reducing regulations ranked fifth on the list, with only 10 percent supporting that approach.

Also included in the findings:

• Small business owners see regulations as a necessary part of a modern economy: 86 percent of small business owners agree some regulation of business is necessary for a modern economy, and 78 percent said some regulations are important to protect small businesses from unfair competition and to level the playing field with big businesses.
• Respondents feel strongly that specific regulations play an important role: 84 percent support policies that ensure food safety for businesses and customers that buy or sell food products, and 80 percent support disclosure and regulation of toxic materials.
• Small business owners also support environmental quality and clean energy policies: 79 percent of small business owners support having clean air and water in their community in order to keep their families, employees, and customers healthy, and 61 percent support standards that move the country toward energy efficiency and clean energy.
• The owners also highlighted the importance of enforcing rules on the books, including against large corporations.