The Wall Street Journal
By: Sarah E. Needleman
December 23, 2010
What do small-business owners want most for the holidays?
From bigger lines of credit and lower taxes to affordable health-care plans and equipment upgrades, many say they want resources to help their companies grow.
At the very top of the wish-list for Andrew Fox, owner of New York-based event-listing and planning firm Track Entertainment Inc.: restoration of his $10 million line of credit. He says his bank cut it by a whopping 90% in 2008, forcing him to sell off several small businesses he'd acquired just a few years earlier. And Mr. Fox would like for his company's credit-card provider to reinstate the unlimited monthly spending privilege he used to have; it was reduced to a $20,000 cap, also in 2008.
"Small businesses are basically being penalized and scrutinized because there is so much regulation now in the commercial loan market," says Mr. Fox, adding that Track Entertainment, which launched in 2004, earned $29 million in revenue last year and is profitable.
Entrepreneur Michael Sinensky is craving a $500,000 loan so he can invest in new refrigerators, chairs, TVs and other fixtures for one of the nine bars that his business, Disco Sushi LLC, runs throughout the New York metro area. "We can't grow because of that," he says, adding that over the past two years, he's been denied for the loan by seven banks despite having received the same size loan previously without any difficulty.
Mr. Sinensky, whose company also operates three websites and an event-planning concern, would further like to be able to stop dipping into his personal savings to cover employees' salaries and pay bills whenever business slows down. For this reason, his wish list includes a line of credit of up to $250,000 to help manage his cashflow. "We're operating week to week," he says.
For Thomas G. Marini, president of Marini Tool & Die Co., a manufacturer in Racine, Wisc., the ideal holiday gift would be $5,000 cutting-edge 3D design software that would help improve efficiency for his 40-employee company. Using the software would give the third-generation family business "a competitive edge," he says.
Michael Folan is asking Santa Claus for an affordable health plan for himself and his one uninsured full-time employee at Infinit Nutrition LLC, a customized sports-drink business he launched in 2004. The plan he'd like most costs about $650 a month --a figure he can't quite afford in his operating budget. "It would be tight," he says, since the Cincinnati-based company just turned a profit for the first time this year. "We've put every penny back into (it) to keep growing."
Gabriel Shaoolian wants about 20 new employees for his New York Web-design and marketing firm, Blue Fountain Media Corp., including information architects, business-development consultants, website developers and online marketing strategists. He has the money and the business to hire the people--but he needs a little reindeer power to find the right talent. "We're in an industry that's relatively young, so it's hard to find someone who's good at it," he says. "We get a lot of résumés, but they lack the experience we're looking for."
Mark W. Smith, a founding partner of New York law firm Smith Valliere PLLC, has just one wish: lower taxes. "I lose half of my profits every year to taxes," he says. "They're way too high and they're hurting the growth of my business."
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