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Brad Close
President of NFIB


Brad CloseBrad Close is President of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization. As NFIB’s chief executive officer, Brad focuses on advancing NFIB’s advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C. and through the organization’s unmatched 50-state network and grassroots operation.

Prior to being named President in 2020, Brad served in leadership positions with NFIB for more than 18 years. As NFIB Senior Vice President for Public Policy, Brad guided the organizations lobbying efforts that led to the creation of the Small Business Deduction, included as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Brad also integrated NFIB’s advocacy resources, including federal and state Government Relations, Political, and Grassroots, into one cohesive team. He led a state policy team with offices and in all 50 state capitals, and oversaw the NFIB Research Center, and the organization’s political and nonprofit fundraising operations.

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Listen to Learn:

  • How Brad got his start in business
  • The importance of small businesses in America
  • About NFIB's mission to advocate for small and independent businesses nationwide, and more...

Podcast Links

NFIB Website


 

Transcript
EPISODE 355

[00:00:01] GM: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling and conversational interviews, this weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners an insider's view into a life of an entrepreneur, the commonalities of successful people and the ups and downs of risk-taking. Connect with Kerry through her candid, funny, informative and always encouraging weekly blog. And now it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.

[00:00:28] KM: Thank you, son, Gray. After four decades of running a small business called Arkansas Flag and Banner, now simply flagandbanner.com, my team and I decided to create a platform for not just me but for other business owners and successful people to pay forward our experiential knowledge in a conversational way.

Originally, we thought we'd be teaching others. But it didn't take long before we realized that we were the people learning. Listening to our guests has been both educational and inspiring. To quote the Dalai Lama, "When you talk, you're only repeating what you already know." But if you listen, you may learn something new." The act of listening is learning. As Greek philosopher, Diogenes, once wrote, "We have two ears and one tongue so that we may listen more.

After listening to over 300 successful people share their stories, I've noticed some reoccurring traits. Most of my guests believe in a higher power, have the heart of a teacher and are creative. Because business is creative. And they all work hard.

Before I introduce today's guest, I want to let you know that if you miss any part of today's show, want to hear it again or share it, son, Gray, will tell you how.

[00:01:38] GM: All UIYB past and present interviews are available at Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy's YouTube channel, Facebook page, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette's digital version, flagandbanner.com's website or wherever you listen to podcasts. Just ask your smart speaker to play Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. And by subscribing to our YouTube channel or flagandbanner.com's email list, you'll will receive prior notification of that day's guest. Back to you, Kerry.

[00:02:04] KM: Thanks again, Gray. My guest today is Brad Close, President of the National Federation of Independent Business. Known to many as simply NFIB. Since 1943, NFIB has been advocating for America's small and independent businesses. They are big dogs in Washington. They lobby not only our federal legislators but also our state legislators to remember us little guys, the small businesses that are the backbone of America's economy.

The good people of NFIB work on behalf of business owners to protect their right to own, operate and grow their business without the burden of heavy taxes or regulations.

Our Guest, Mr. Brad Close believes in this mission evident by his career trajectory and length of time at NFIB. Previously in his Chief Executive role, Brad advocated in Washington and all 50 states in a successful grassroot membership growth and mission of advancing small businesses in America.

In his Senior Vice President role, he worked on public policy that led to the creation of the Small Business Deduction Act, a portion of The Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017, which we'll talk about today.

Through Brad's longevity and hard work with NFIB, he has garnered some major accomplishments and made and met some important advocacy resources and connections.

It is with great pleasure I welcome to the table President of the National Federation of Independent Business and lover of America's small and independent companies, Mr. Brad Close. Hi, Brad.

[00:03:41] BC: Thank you, Kerry. How are you today?

[00:03:42] KM: Thank you. Welcome. I was telling you before we went on that we're on my favorite subject today. I absolutely love talking about small business. I've been running a small business for over four decades. Gray, when do we celebrate our 50th year? What year? 19?

[00:03:57] GM: 19 – well, 25 is when we will celebrate 50. Yeah.

[00:04:02] KM: 2025.

[00:04:02] BC: Wow.

[00:04:03] KM: Did I say it right when I said the Small Business Deduction Act is a part of The Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017?

[00:04:09] BC: Yeah. The Small Business Deduction was part of that big tax bill. But for most small businesses, it was a huge part that it provides a 20% deduction for all pass-through businesses.

[00:04:20] KM: Now I thought that it was around during the 2010 recession.

[00:04:25] BC: The provision was not. It had been talked about before. But it never actually got signed into law until end of 2017.

[00:04:34] KM: And so, it was a big part of the pandemic relief for small businesses.

[00:04:38] BC: Yeah. It really to help their members get through the fact that it already existed in law. And right now, it's their line 13. If your listeners are looking at their tax returns, if they're a pass-through business, line 13 will tell them what that deduction is for them. And they'll realize it's pretty significant for most businesses.

[00:04:55] KM: Thank you for telling us what line it is.

[00:04:59] BC: Makes it easier to find.

[00:05:00] KM: Yeah. Thank you very much. Is there any other organization like NFIB?

[00:05:05] BC: No. I'm biased. I've been there 21 years. But I don't think so. I think in the trade association world for businesses, we're unique, and that we are member-driven. We were founded 80 years ago. Our members set our policy. Not us sitting around a table in Washington, D.C. We don't decide what's best for a small business. Our members tell us. And then we go fight for them in all state capitals and in Washington and in the courts. It's very unique.

And we also represent the smallest of the small. Our typical member is five to ten employees. And they are all independently-owned and operated. We don't have publicly-traded companies –

[00:05:38] KM: So how do they tell you? You have meetings? They send in – you send out questions and answers? How do they tell you what they want?

[00:05:46] BC: Yeah, we do. But we call them ballots. And we send out two ballots on federal issues every year to our members. And each of our states sends out their own ballots on state issues each year. And then we have a research center that does more in-depth research on certain issues that our members seem to be concerned about so we can get more detailed answers. But the ballots, the research, that's what guides us and that's how we decide what we need to support and what we need to oppose on Capitol Hill and all the states.

[00:06:15] KM: So you mentioned, you've been there for a couple of decades. Why? Why have you stayed so long? That's pretty long in today's climate. People change jobs every five years almost.

[00:06:25] BC: Yeah. No. I loved it from day one. I think the mission, it's great. All of us who work there, we get up every morning and we get to go work for small business, you know? Even if you're having a bad day, bad week or bad month, you're still doing a good thing. And it's fun to get up and go to fight for our members. And I think that's what keeps us going.

[00:06:42] KM: So that kind of brings me to another question. Let's talk about your life. Why are you interested in businesses and being the president of this advocacy group? Because were your parents entrepreneurs?

[00:06:57] BC: My parents weren't. My wife's family were all entrepreneurs. But I started on Capitol Hill and I ended my time up there working on the small business committee. And it opened my eyes to another part of the economy I didn't know as well. And I got to know some folks at NFIB and I felt like what they were doing was great. They're really fighting for freedom, right? For our members and all small business owners to live their lives, run their business and do it the way they want. And it's a neat thing to go fight for. So that appealed to me from day one.

[00:07:29] KM: You started on Capitol Hill as an aide?

[00:07:31] BC: Yep. I worked for three different congressmen from Illinois and did different jobs for each of them.

[00:07:39] KM: I was wondering what that noise was in the background. Could you hear that, Brad? No.

[00:07:43] BC: I heard the last one.

[00:07:45] GM: Yeah.

[00:07:45] KM: I was like, "Is that thing on?" Okay. Well, we're in an old building. And old buildings have to have window units.

[00:07:52] BC: Just adds character.

[00:07:54] KM: There you go. And it also ruins a recording.

[00:08:01] GM: The ambiance of AC.

[00:08:01] KM: The ambiance of the – I was like, "What is that noise?" Because I've got these headphones on. I couldn't quite tell. All right. Your parents were entrepreneurs.

[00:08:12] BC: My wife's family was. Yeah. I was not. I was not.

[00:08:13] KM: Your wife's family – what'd you major in in college?

[00:08:16] BC: Political science. But it wasn't because I thought I'd pursue this career. I just couldn't figure out what to study. So that's what I did.

[00:08:23] KM: What was your first job? Aide on Capitol Hill?

[00:08:25] BC: Well, yeah. In the summers, I worked for Public Works back home in Illinois. And that actually helped me become a smaller government conservative just watching how local governments and state governments spent their money and where it went and what they did with it. And that helped me. It also focused me on what I wanted to do going forward.

And then I interned for my local Congressman my last year in college. And after I graduated, they called and a job had opened up and I went to DC and thought I'd stay for a couple years and ended up still being there.

[00:08:58] KM: Two decades later, you're still there. You're making a difference. Well, we need more people like you. That's great.

This is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with Mr. Brad Close, President of the National Federation of Independent Business known to many as simply NFIB, a Washington advocacy group lobbying for the advancement of small businesses.

Still to come, business trends, small business legislation, tips on starting a small business. Hear the pitfalls and how to avoid them. We'll be right back.

[BREAK]

[00:09:30] GM: You're listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Over 40 years ago with only $400, Kerry founded Arkansas Flag and Banner. During the last four decades, the business has grown and changed along with Kerry's experience and leadership knowledge.

In 1995, she embraced the internet and rebranded her company as simply flagandbanner.com. In 2004, she became an early blogger. Since then, she has founded the non-profit, Friends of Dreamland Ballroom. Began publishing her magazine, Brave. And in 2016, branched out into this very radio show, YouTube channel and podcast.

In 2020, Kerry McCoy Enterprises acquired ourcornermarket.com, an online company specializing in American-made plaques, signage and memorials for over 20 years. And more recently, opened a satellite office in Miami, Florida.

Telling American-made stories, selling American-made flags, the flagandbanner.com. Back to you, Kerry.

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

[00:10:27] KM: You are listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. And I'm speaking today with Mr. Brad Close of NFIB, a Washington lobbyist group working to protect the rights of business owners to own, operate and grow their business without the burden of heavy taxes or legislation.

Before the break, we talked about how he got in this business. He was a political science major who thought he'd go to Washington for a couple of months. 20 years later, he's at the same company. He loves working for NFIB, which you can tell by the trajectory of his career. He's gone from being an aide for a congressman to now the President of NFIB.

And there's nothing really else like NFIB in Washington that has such a big voice that lobbies for the small businesses. And like you said, they've been around 80 years. They've got power up there.

You've had a busy week. The NFIB's annual Fly-In Week was this week. Tell us about the week and how it went. What it is and why it's so important?

[00:11:30] BC: Yeah. We had a great time. We love doing it. We do this in Washington once a year and then all of the state capitals once a year as well too, to our state teams. We had about 150 small business owners come into Washington, D.C. for two and a half days.

Hard for them. They take time away from their business, which most small business owners cannot afford to do. But they came in and they heard from some good speakers from Capitol Hill on Tuesday. And then on Wednesday, we went up to Capitol Hill to make sure they met with their congressmen and women and their senators. And that they could hear directly from their constituents who own small businesses who create jobs in their districts and in their states and to tell them what Washington should be doing. And more importantly, what they should not be doing to help small business.

[00:12:13] KM: Do you remember who came from Arkansas?

[00:12:16] BC: I don't. I know we had good meetings though. I'm trying to think off the top of my head. We had one or two numbers there.

[00:12:21] KM: Did they talk to French Hill? Who did they talk to?

[00:12:23] BC: French Hill's great. Yeah. I'm sure they did. Everybody, if you look at our Twitter feed, you'll see all these pictures of our members with all of their congressmen and their senators –

[00:12:32] KM: Is it invitation only?

[00:12:34] BC: No. All our members get an invite. We send it out on email. We encourage them. And we pay for their hotel room. We pay for their uh their food. Getting around DC. We just ask that they figure out how to get to DC for the event and we cover the rest.

[00:12:48] KM: You know, I did that one year.

[00:12:50] GM: I was going to say, are you waiting for your invitation?

[00:12:52] KM: No. I did it one year. When I was a really young entrepreneur. I cannot remember who invited me. And I think it was Diana Baker's father. He was big at NFIB. Avis Rent a Car. He was a small business owner in Arkansas. And he invited me. And I went up there with him. And we met with David Pryor, I believe.

[00:13:12] BC: Okay. Yep.

[00:13:13] KM: Yeah. It's really impressive. You don't get to go into their office and see actually where they work and what they do. I mean, it's a big opportunity. If someone's interested in that to go up there and do it. I'm not sure we accomplished anything.

[00:13:29] BC: Yeah. It depends.

[00:13:31] KM: But it was a great experience.

[00:13:33] BC: Some listen. Some don't. But it's worth explaining, you know? Even if they don't vote with you.

[00:13:39] KM: You recently wrote an op-ed with three – well, before we move into that, do you remember what some of the issues were that they were talking about?

[00:13:48] BC: Yeah. Our main one um was the small business deduction. When congress wrote this, it's a great provision for small business, for pass-throughs. But it expires in two and a half years. At the end of December 2025, that deduction goes away. It was not made permanent. For small businesses that are pass-throughs, they're looking at a pretty significant tax increase in two and a half years for the year 2026 if Congress does not make this provision permanent. We've got a bill coming. But that was the message. What this means to folks? What it means to job creation? That they need to get on it and make it permanent.

[00:14:20] KM: How do you feel about it?

[00:14:21] BC: I feel like we're going to get it. But it's going to take a lot of work. A lot of work.

[00:14:26] KM: Didn't they just do it for big companies?

[00:14:30] BC: Well, the big companies who are filed as corporations. They got a 21% rate. And so, if you're incorporated, corporation, you get a 21% rate. And that rate was made permanent. But for small businesses that are organized as pass-throughs, LLCs, S-corps, partnerships, their taxes have to flow through their personal income tax return before it goes back into the business. This 20% kind of helps get them closer to a level playing field with their corporate competitors. Not quite. But it helps a lot.

[00:15:01] KM: Well, and there's a lot of corporate C-corps that are small businesses.

[00:15:07] BC: That's right. That's right. They got that 21% rate.

[00:15:09] KM: Some small businesses did get a permanent – yeah.

[00:15:14] BC: Yeah. Yeah. We have about 20% of our members are incorporated. They're paying the 21% corporate rate.

[00:15:21] KM: You know, I think this S-corp and the C-corp conversation goes back and forth. And it kind of drives me crazy. My accountant wants me to become an S-corp. And just because he thought everybody should do it. And tell our listeners what an S-corp is.

[00:15:42] BC: An S-corp is kind of a shareholder. It's a pass-through business. The key is you're filing your business. Your business taxes get filed on your personal income tax return. There's no separate business tax return like you would if you're incorporated.

[00:15:57] KM: And most people's personal taxes are less than the corporate taxes.

[00:16:00] BC: That's correct. That's correct. But if you're a small business owner and you have a good year, your personal tax rate might be very high because of that business income. But before you invest any of your profits and what you've made that you're in your business, it's got to go through your personal tax return. You pay taxes on it.

Then it goes back into your business. If you had a really good year, which a lot of small business owners, their income will fluctuate from year-to-year depending on how the economy is doing, how well they did. But you could have a year where you're in an upper bracket because your company did so well. But Congress doesn't always remember that that money goes back in the business. It's not going all in the owner's pocket. They need to grow. They need to pay their employer employees. They want to hire new employees. Buy equipment and all that. That education on Capitol Hill – and a lot of times we're talking to people who, like I was when I was up there, never owned a business.

[00:16:49] KM: That's right. They don't realize that every time you make some profit in your company, you're going to reinvest it into the community, into the people, into the employees. And they always just look at the bottom line and go, "Oh, they made some money. So let's tax it."

[00:17:02] BC: That's exactly right.

[00:17:04] KM: Thank you for staying up there and pounding the pavement for us. Yes. That was one of the three major issues you wrote about in your recent op-ed, was the Main Street Tax Certainty Act. The pass-through of the Main Street Tax Certainty Act.

[00:17:24] GM: Say it again.

[00:17:24] KM: No. God. The Main Street – you're trying to pass the Main Street Tax Certainty Tax.

[00:17:37] GM: There we are. Okay.

[00:17:38] KM: Making small business deduction permanent. I love that. And then the second issue that was in your op-ed was credit card processing fees. And boy, do I really want this one. Now that is also a bi – I don't know if the other one was a bipartisan issue. But the credit card processing fees is a bipartisan issue. Tell us what that is and why is it not instantly going to pass.

[00:18:02] BC: Yeah. And both issues are bipartisan. We have folks on both sides of the aisle that are in agreement with small business. The credit card fairness bill is important because small business owners, credit cards are a fact of life. You've got to accept them if you're running a business, right? It's very hard not to.

The problem for our members is they don't get a choice in how that credit card gets processed. And they don't get a choice in what the fee that they have to pay to a bank, right? Their credit card company tells them what process you're using. What's that going to cost? And then the credit card company sets the swipe fee that goes to the big bank who's got their name on the credit card.

What the bill does, all it does is it says that credit card companies have to offer at least two processing options, two different networks to small businesses so that they can at least choose. Because one small business might like one option. Another one like the other. But what we want is to have competition choice and for small businesses to choose a credit card processing network that best fits their business. That's it. And they don't have that choice right now. And it's a huge part –

[00:19:02] KM: Do large companies have that choice?

[00:19:05] BC: No, they don't. But I think the nature of small business, their profit margins are so thin. If you look at a retail store or something like that that's paying maybe $2,000 a month in swipe fees and credit card fees, that could be their profit margin right there for the whole year. Their ability to pick a plan that maybe has lower fees but they pay some other way. Just give them that flexibility and that choice. That's what we want like.

[00:19:27] KM: Every year, I am shocked at the amount of money I pay for credit cards. 3% of our sales, our gross sales, 3% go to credit card processing companies. Here's the thing that I think is interesting. If you are a large company, they base their percentage that they charge you based on the volume that you charge.

If you are a large company and you have a very large process – you have a very large credit card processing amount, they'll give you a lower fee. They'll give you 2% because of volume that you're doing. But if you're a small company retailer –

[00:20:11] GM: It's counterintuitive. You're making it harder for the little guy. Yeah.

[00:20:15] BC: Absolutely. Yeah.

[00:20:16] KM: 3% is pretty normal. But if you're big, you could get it as low as 2% or 1.5%.

[00:20:23] BC: Yeah. I mean, if you're the corner hardware store or a single bay car repair store, that 3% fee is going to kill you, right? That might be the difference, right?

[00:20:31] KM: It's large.

[00:20:32] BC: Yeah.

[00:20:34] KM: The third one is frightening to everybody, whether you're in business or whether you're an individual. But the IRS is auditing small businesses because they're easier.

[00:20:48] BC: That's right. Very easy targets.

[00:20:51] KM: Yes. I mean, whether you're a personal tax return or business tax return, the minute the IRS calls, you're afraid you've done something wrong. And they have total power to do whatever they want. And they're going after small businesses because the big businesses are too large, too convoluted. And they don't have really a smart enough task force to go in there and analyze a really, really large business. I thought it was interesting that they're spending $80 billion in new taxpayer funding to audit. I thought that we just got that dropped. No?

[00:21:30] KM: Yeah. A little bit of it got dropped in the debt ceiling bill. It did get peeled back some of it. But when congress passed that law about a year and a half ago, they set aside a future $80 billion, which more than doubled the IRS's current budget. And the focus of that money is going to be in enforcement. Not on education. Not on customer service. Not any of the things you would hope your government would be doing with your tax dollars. It's going to all be targeted, almost all that, on enforcement, on sending folks out. And they're going to go knock on the doors of small business because it's low-hanging fruit, right? The big guys have three law firms, two accountant firms and a whole department to fight this stuff and pay their taxes where small business owners don't, you know? And that's what we're really worried about.

And we think taxpayer money could be spent a heck of a lot better. And if you are going to do stuff with the IRS, they need to focus on education and customer service. The backlogs right now are horrible. Getting a live person to talk to is almost impossible. Those are the things any need to focus on.

[00:22:29] KM: Mm-hmm. How do you feel about that? Do you think you're going to make a difference?

[00:22:34] BC: I do. I think getting a little bit peeled back in the debt ceiling bill was a good start. It is a kind of a partisan issue right now. It shouldn't be. But it is. I think after the next election cycle, if you see any kind of changes in the makeup of the senate, the White House, the House or anything, you'll see the ability to move. But we're going to keep pushing away each year on this because it's a massive amount of taxpayer money.

I mean, this is money that comes out of a small business, right? It's their money. And the government wants more of it. And they want more of it just to go get more. Not really good.

[00:23:07] KM: That doesn't –

[00:23:07] BC: That's not helpful.

[00:23:08] GM: Not from the right people.

[00:23:10] BC: That's right. Yeah.

[00:23:10] KM: Yeah. Is NFIB associated with any political party?

[00:23:14] BC: No, we don't. We don't ask our members their partisan affiliations or anything like that. We are an economic organization helping small businesses. We work with both parties right now in Washington, D.C. The Republican Party tends to have more supporters right now of the issues that our members care about. But we work with both sides of the both sides of aisle in the state capitals and in D.C.

[00:23:36] KM: One of the issues that I've always thought was interesting is the Republican Party, I've noticed, is not for Affordable Care Act to be global for everybody to have it. And that is a really big burden to small businesses to have to provide health insurance to their employees when the government should be doing it. And they say that backwards on TV. When they talk about it sometimes from a political point of view, they'll say, "Well, we're trying to help small businesses and not put in the Affordable Care Act."

[00:24:17] GM: Let them keep their options.

[00:24:19] KM: Let them keep their options. And you're like, "No. We don't want to be in that. We don't want to be in the health care business." That's backwards talking. I've never heard one small business person say, "Boy, I'm glad they didn't enforce Obamacare and I have to pay all my employees' health care." It's a real problem for small businesses to compete for a good coverage for their employees and to have good employees and be able to offer that benefit. That's a real burden to small businesses who are always suffering at getting talent. And they can't get talent without health care. And they can't afford health care because it's one of the biggest expenses on your income statement.

[00:25:06] BC: It has been. And in our surveys that we do each year, it's been the top for probably the last 25 years as business expenses. And when we talked in Washington to the Congress and the Senate, we're always trying to explain to them that this is a cost issue. It's about the cost of doing business and how much it impacts the bottom line, the ability for small businesses to stay open, to run and grow.

And Washington tends to look at it the wrong way. They look at it as a coverage issue. Like, "Well, we got to cover all this. We've got to add coverage here." And without fully understanding that everything you add, you're adding more money to the cost of a small business. And that's what drives our members nuts.

[00:25:46] KM: Yeah. And talent. Hiring talent. You can't hire talent if you don't offer those things. And you can't offer those things and still stay in business because you don't have enough people. The cost of the health insurance is very, very high because you're not spreading it out across a bunch of people. Yes. When are you going to add that to your list of things?

[00:26:03] BC: It's on there. It has been on a list for 25 years.

[00:26:06] KM: Well, why do they keep saying it backwards on TV if everybody knows it?

[00:26:09] BC: I don't know. I don't know. It's TV.

[00:26:12] GM: Yeah, right.

[00:26:13] KM: It's politics. Say it backwards.

[00:26:14] BC: It's politics. Say it backward, it doesn't matter. Yeah.

[00:26:18] KM: Okay. Let's talk about the benefits of being a small business. We're talking about some of the drawbacks that they face. But some of the great things about being a small business is small business loans. The SBA will be a co-signer if you need money.

[00:26:33] BC: That's right.

[00:26:34] KM: And government contracts I know a lot of people don't like quotas. But I am somebody who is an example of a quota. A female that gets to check the female box on the government contracts. I get to check the small business box on the government contracts.

[00:26:50] GM: Women-owned small business. Yeah.

[00:26:52] KM: I've been lucky to check the quota box. And I know some people don't like that. And then you have in here grants, research and innovation. What is that? I keep getting emails about are you taking advantage of this research and innovation grant. Do you know what that's about?

[00:27:10] BC: There are some smaller grant programs through the SBA and some of the other agencies that targeted small business. They're generally pretty small programs and very specific. A couple of them pertain more to businesses that are working on a more technical, or a high-tech issue, or a health issue or something working through a local college and maybe developing a product. There's certain grant programs for that.

[00:27:34] KM: I gotcha. And then less regulations. When you're a small business, you have less regulations and you have less internal processes. I think if you get to 50 employees – I think a small business is identified as below 250 employees. What is the definition of a small business?

[00:27:51] BC: The Small Business Administration says it's 500 or less. For NFIB, that would be a massive business. Our typical member is five to ten employees. We tend to look at small as truly small. Sole proprietors and just themselves. 20 and below. That's is our – kind of the meat of our membership is 20 and below.

[00:28:10] KM: I know that I have 45 employees. And I know that if I go over 50, I get a lot of internal processes and regulations that begin to –

[00:28:19] BC: That's correct.

[00:28:21] KM: Who is in charge of that part? It's not SBA. It's not –

[00:28:25] BC: No. That's just law. So like family medical leave, that's 50 and above. Some of these other provisions. Not all federal. And depending on your state law too, you may have provisions that once you've hit that 50-employee threshold, more things kick in.

The way we've explained it to Congress when they try to bring that number down and look at it is that a business under 50, they're not going to have an HR department. They're not going to have a legal department. They don't have three people sitting around a table going through federal regulations every day to stay on top of stuff. The only time they know there's a new regulation is when the inspector walks in the door and says they violated something.

[00:29:03] KM: Yeah. When they get caught.

[00:29:05] BC: Right. Exactly.

[00:29:06] KM: That is exactly right. Because we don't have an HR. We don't have that kind of staff. And so, we are very concerned if we were to get over 50. It actually reduces the amount of people we would hire because of the rules from the government put on us. And so, it inhibits us wanting to hire people.

[00:29:26] BC: It absolutely does. And that's one of the main points we try to drive home, is that Congress, if you want to put these laws in place and you want to put an employment cap on where they apply and where they don't, businesses that are just over the cap are going to have to get under. And businesses that are below it but want to grow, they're not going over that cap. And it's simple economics, right? But it's Congress we're talking with here. And that doesn't always work.

[00:29:50] KM: Brad, I don't know how you can stand it. I could not work up there. It would make me crazy. But I'm a small business owner. I come in. I do what I want to do. We execute. We're done. We're on to the next thing. There's no way I could work in a process so slow like that.

But before we go to break, I just want to say this is really interesting. 75% of all small business owners are happy.

[00:30:11] BC: I saw them this week. They all are happy. They all had complaints and concerns. But they are doing what they love and like.

[00:30:18] KM: Now, here, is it the chicken or the egg here? Are they just happy people and that's why they're great business owners? Or because they're business owners, they're happy? I'm not sure which one works out.

Al right. This is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with Mr. Brad Close, President of the National Federation of Independent Businesses known to many as NFIB, a Washington advocacy group lobbying for the achievement of small business.

Still to come, surprising small business statistics. I loved learning all that. I've got something I'm going to tell you, Brad. You're going to be like, "What?" That's trending in small businesses? And how to become involved with NFIB? We'll be right back.

Now we'd take a break. This is when we put a commercial in.

Okay. We're coming back. Are you ready, Brad? Uh-oh. My earphones just went off.

[00:31:16] GM: Did you knock something?

[00:31:22] KM: What happened? I just lost my headset. What did I do?

Hello? Hello? Oh, I'm back. Yep. I did something. Imagine that? Don't do it again. All right. You're listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. And I'm speaking today with Mr. Brad Close, President of NFIB, a Washington lobbyist group working to protect the rights of business owners to own, operate and grow their business without the burden of heavy taxes or regulations.

Before the break, we talked about how business owners are happy. I think that's nice. And we talked about the three – we talked about fly-in week that NFIB does every year. We talked about Brad's op-ed piece he just wrote and the three major things in it, credit card reform. Keeping the – what was that called? The tax? What was it called, Brad? Tax?

[00:32:23] BC: Oh, the small business deduction.

[00:32:26] KM: Keeping the small. Making it a permanent. Small business deduction permanent. And then what was the last one?

[00:32:32] BC: The IRS. The IRS –

[00:32:34] KM: Oh, how could I forget that one? I'm trying to forget that one. The IRS.

[00:32:42] GM: Yeah. IRS auditing small business owners. Yeah.

[00:32:45] KM: Thank you. Lord, I need some more coffee. The RIS audit. But now we're going to talk about – we're going to talk about the SBA and some of the stats. This is fun. There are 32 million small business in the U.S. And we're talking about millions. That's 99.9% of businesses in the US. And that's based on under 250 employees. We're talking about millions. 32 million small businesses.

[00:33:18] GM: Wow. Really?

[00:33:21] KM: That make up 99% of the businesses in America.

[00:33:22] GM: Mm-hmm. That part makes sense to me. But that's just a big number. I don't know.

[00:33:26] KM: That means there's only 21,000 large businesses. Now we're talking about millions. And Brad, correct me. I got this off the SBA website. 32 million. That is the United States only, right?

[00:33:39] BC: It is. It is. And in that number, that includes both sole proprietors. People who work for themselves. And also, folks who maybe do a part-time small business like selling or doing whatever. But in that number is also five to six million employing firms that are small business owners that have jobs, which is huge. Especially when you look at the number of corporations that are out there, the big ones, versus the number of both sole proprietors around the country and small businesses that have employees.

[00:34:08] KM: And it could be a little skewed. Let's just say it's 30 million and not 32 million. Because there's some shell companies that are incorporated in there that don't really do anything and stuff like that. Let's just say there's 32 million.

[00:34:20] GM: Still.

[00:34:21] KM: Okay. There's only 21,000 large businesses. Now what this does not take into consideration? And is somewhat misleading is that small businesses are 99% of businesses. But they only generate 44% of the economy, the GDP. That is a burdensome lot to a small business who are the job creators.

Think about that again. 32 million small businesses. 21,000 large companies. But those 32 million small businesses only make up 44% of the GDP. That's because those large businesses are monopolies and oligopolies. And they're using automation. They're not even the number one creator of jobs. Even with small businesses only having 44% of the economy, still, 65% of the jobs are created by small businesses. There's a skew. They're ske – it's very skewed. And you have to almost look at it on paper to kind of wrap your head around it. But 32 million large businesses? I mean, small businesses? 21,000 small businesses. I mean – okay. I'm saying that again. 32 million small businesses, 21,000 large businesses. And yet, those 21,000 large businesses make up 66% of our GDP.

They're way out selling us with less employees because they don't employ as many as we do. Does Walmart still, though, the number one employer?

[00:36:13] BC: I would assume so. I don't – I haven't seen the stats. But I would think so.

[00:36:17] KM: You were going to say something. What were you going to say?

[00:36:20] BC: No. What I was going to say is your point is good. And what we try to tell Congress and the state capitals is that half the economy is small business. When you're focusing on anything that impacts business, don't just talk and think about the big guys. Half the economy is Main Street America. And they've got to be remembering that. Half our battle is reminding them not to get caught up in just focusing on large businesses. But focus on all your businesses back home.

[00:36:46] KM: But, you know, the large businesses have their own lobbyists in Washington.

[00:36:51] BC: They have a lot of resources. But the one thing I noticed this week is we had small business owners sitting in Congressional offices. And it just made all the difference in the world. You can have all the lobbyists you want coming in and out of a congressman or a senator's office. But if you have an actual small business owner in there, that's just gold, right? We brought out real small business owners from States to tell their story uh and tell Congress what they need to do. And I think that trumps all the lobbyists in the world.

[00:37:23] KM: I don't know about that.

[00:37:25] BC: Well, if we didn't think so, we'd stop trying. We got to keep going.

[00:37:28] KM: Yeah. I'm glad you got that poly – he's got that Pollyanna idea over there. That's all right. That's all right. You know? But they got the deep pockets. I am going to bring this up because I always bring this up when I get a chance to talk about it. I'm tired of the world measuring itself by the GDP, the gross domestic product.

The 21,000 companies, the big guys, make up 65% of the gross domestic product. And that's why they get preferential treatment. And I'm tired of our country being measured by the gross domestic product. And if you really think about what GDP means, it means how much we buy, how much we sell, how much we rate the land and how much we put in landfills. Can we not change it to some other way to measure a country's well-being like an overall happiness quotient?

[00:38:15] BC: Right.

[00:38:16] GM: Well, it's just saying that better reflects like all the stats that you were just saying that quantifies the importance of the small business outside of just how much money they're making. Things like that.

[00:38:27] KM: Well, you're going to run out. There's only so much land. I mean, you can only buy and sell for so long before you're just living in a mountain of trash with plastic everywhere. I mean, there is an end to this.

[00:38:37] GM: Sure. Yeah. External costs. Yeah.

[00:38:41] KM: Do they talk about that ever?

[00:38:43] BC: Yeah. So one of the ways we tried to talk about it during the pandemic when, early on, you had – Governors were closing small businesses. But a lot of big business were allowed to be open. And the rules were a little different. It's reminding them that, "Look, it's the small businesses across America that are supporting our communities, creating jobs there. They're the ones that sponsored the little leagues, sponsor the music programs, do the parades, do the fundraisers around town, give people a start in life. And yet, you're closing them."

So trying to remind folks that, to your point, there is more than just dollars and cents, right? When you look at a small business in a community, it plays an outsized role because it's not just the jobs they create. But it's their role in the community. What they're doing.

And when they buy things, when a small business owner, say, they buy a truck, they buy a computer or restaurant equipment, whatever it is, they're buying it locally, right? And if they buy a truck, they're going to buy it locally from a car dealer. Then they're going to have someone else locally put the sign on it. And then if they need to have equipment mounted to it, someone else is going to do that. It's a very community-focused with small business where you don't get that necessarily with the large businesses.

[00:39:54] KM: And with the small business, I often say, when I get a young person in here, you should be paying me for what I'm about to teach you. I mean, I have to teach – I mean, I have to tell them to wear clean clothes, cover their food in the microwave, to pick up after themselves. We have signs all over Arkansas Flag and Banner that say, "Your mother doesn't work here. Pick up after yourself."

[00:40:12] BC: That's pretty good.

[00:40:13] KM: It is. Isn't it? Except that's not really true. Because three of my kids work here.

[00:40:17] GM: Yeah. Right.

[00:40:21] KM: Let's see. I was surprised to hear that, since 1982, small businesses have doubled. I would not have thought that because of the polyopolis and – or what's it called? Is it called poly – what's it called? Oligopolies. Because of the oligopolies, I was surprised to hear that small businesses have doubled since 1982. And I guess it's the internet and the ability to work at home.

[00:40:49] BC: Yeah. And I think both of those opened up new avenues for people who maybe thought about being in business for themselves. Leaving a job and working for themselves. It gave them a chance to do something different.

[00:40:59] KM: See? I feel like these big oligopolies are running me out of business. They're offering things that I can't do. I think that's encouraging.

[00:41:09] GM: Prime shipping, for instance.

[00:41:10] KM: Prime shipping, for instance. Yeah. People call up and go, "Well, I can get this free on Amazon." I'm like, "Well, I know. Well, all he has to make is two cents on this whole thing." Because he does so many of them.

Here's some fun facts. 60% of entrepreneurs are starting a business to be their own boss. That is exactly why I did it. Over 65% of small businesses are profitable. I was shocked at that. That's good.

[00:41:36] GM: How many?

[00:41:37] KM: 65%.

[00:41:38] GM: That's good.

[00:41:39] KM: Another 64%, 65%, of small businesses start their businesses with under $10,000.

[00:41:45] GM: That makes sense.

[00:41:47] KM: And 75% of small business owners are happy, which we've already talked about that. Let's do talk about the pandemic. When did you realize this was going to be a big deal? And were you for shut down, stay-at-home order? Yeah.

[00:42:01] BC: Yeah. Yeah. I think, initially, it looked like it was the right thing to do. The president closed the country, I think, for three weeks. And so, things were kind of dicey in end of March and April if I remember. No one really knew what was going to go on.

But once we hit May and then we're into June and we were seeing how much suffering was going on by small business owners, their employees, it was clear that in most of these states. And there were only, I think, six states that did not shut down. They had gone to the extreme and were actually damaging people's livelihoods and the businesses were closing.

And so, yes. I think, initially, most people thought this is a smart move by the government. We need to be cautious and figure out what's going on. But when that started dragging on into a month, two months, it was clear that it wasn't having the effects that maybe folks thought it would. It was having the opposite.

We spent a lot of that time talking to congress and telling them what they need to do, what they need to stop doing. Same thing with the state governments. And then trying to help our members find assistance where they needed it, whether it was through the PPP program, the idle loan program. And then later on, the employee retention tax credit to help them get back on their feet and figure out a way to pay their employees and keep their business running until things got better and their state opened up.

[00:43:16] KM: You were for the PPP. I think it sure saved us.

[00:43:19] BC: There are a lot of businesses that said they really benefit from it. Initially, the rollout, that first time it rolled out, it did not go well. It went all to big businesses and to the big banks. But the second and third PPP bills that went through really focused more on small businesses. Because it wasn't going to the community banks and the local banks yet.

And when the program got to where they were being able to access it and get that for their local businesses, then it started to really make a difference. And people could pay their employees and keep their doors open.

[00:43:49] KM: The challenges since the pandemic for small business have been hiring shortages.

[00:43:54] BC: It has not abated at all. It's been three years straight now where one of their top three concerns in our monthly economic surveys is just a lack of qualified candidates to fill jobs. And a lot of the small businesses want to grow. The business is out there for them to get to grow. But they don't have enough employees and they can't find anymore. That is a huge problem. That and inflation.

[00:44:13] KM: Well, I don't think that's going to be solved. Because the Baby Boomers all retired when COVID happened. They were like, "Man, this is a good time for me to just go ahead and stay home." That's not going to resolve.

[00:44:23] BC: I think it clearly hasn't. It's going to go on for a while. We're anticipating that it will not go away for the near future.

[00:44:30] KM: I've heard Elon Musk say one of the biggest problems facing the world economy is going to be the lack of – is the reduction in the birthright. Because you're not going to have people, which I always thought that was supposed to be a good thing. Less people using up resources.

[00:44:45] GM: Mixed bag.

[00:44:46] KM: It's a mixed bag. Less people using up resources. Well, that'll just automate everything with AI and then we won't need people.

[00:44:54] GM: Yeah, man. Robots take out my trash for me. It's great.

[00:44:58] KM: Does he, really?

[00:44:58] GM: Almost. Yeah.

[00:45:00] KM: Are you calling your husband a robot?

[00:45:02] GM: No. Yikes.

[00:45:10] KM: Supply chain issues. A lot of people think that – don't really understand the Suez Canal backed up. And how bad that hurt supply chain issues. Was there any other reason we had supply chain issues? Was it because China had shut down? Was it because of the state-at-home order that we had supply chain issues? A lot of people say that was it. But it was also the Suez Canal.

[00:45:32] BC: Oh, I think it was a whole mix of everything at all and it all happened at once. I don't think it was any one thing. But clearly, people who were – this wasn't true for small businesses. But folks who worked at larger companies were at home. They were getting paid. They were working at home and they were spending money.

And so, as goods became more scarce, then you get inflation as prices go up and people had money in their pocket, and then people were trying to order everything. Especially, remember that first year, everyone wanted tables for outside, fire pits, whatever it was, right? Everybody wanted to have all these things so they could be outside and stay at home. And you couldn't find all kinds of things. And then you had everything backed up. I think it was a whole bunch of things together. But they all contributed to a serious issue with getting supplies and then inflation.

[00:46:15] KM: What do you think is the biggest challenge today for small businesses?

[00:46:18] BC: I think it's probably just to start one. I think it's just getting off the ground and getting through that initial regulatory burden. I think a lot of our members will talk about they had no idea how much time and effort they'd have to spend on stuff that doesn't help them hire, it doesn't help them grow. It doesn't do – have anything to do with their business. But they keep getting requirements from their federal government and their state governments to do X, Y and Z. And those governments have no clue what that means to an individual small business and how much time and effort it takes to comply with a lot of things. And I remember [inaudible 00:46:55] are just kind of silly and they have to do it.

[00:46:58] KM: Mm-hmm. What's the one about we have to fill out all the time about are you buying from – are you using equipment or buying from anything from – is it Saudi Arabia?

[00:47:10] GM: Wait. What do you mean?

[00:47:12] KM: There's a piece of paper that we have to fill out that says we are not buying equipment from –

[00:47:19] GM: Oh.

[00:47:21] KM: Do you know what I'm talking about, Brad?

[00:47:22] BC: I don't.

[00:47:22] KM: There's a crazy piece of paper the government makes you fill up that says you wear that you're not buying your phone equipment or any equipment in your building from – do you know what it is? Well, if my husband was here, he'd tell. Cut that out, Tom. Because I can't remember what it is. Edit that part out of the show because I can't – it's some country. But it is the silliest thing you ever heard of.

Anyway, I think this is a great place to take a break. What were we talking about right before I started saying that? Oh, no. We were talking about – never mind. All right. It's a great – you know, Brad, we did this live for like two or three years.

[00:48:01] GM: Can you imagine?

[00:48:04] BC: One take. Live. That's impressive.

[00:48:05] KM: One take. One take. One hour. We just got in there and we did it. And it was just done. And it was just like – it's so nice now because we can go, "Cut that out. I don't remember what."

[00:48:14] GM: Mom can curse like a sailor and then we take it –

[00:48:17] KM: I have not today in respect for you, Brad. All right. Here we go. This is a great place to take a break. We are speaking today with Mr. Brad Close, President of the National Federation of Independent Business known to many as NFIB, a Washington advocacy group working for over 80 years to promote and help small businesses.

In this last segment, we will recap the benefits of joining and supporting NFIB. And some things you should know if you are wanting to start a business. The seven reason businesses fail. We'll be right back.

I remember what it was. I'll ask in the next break.

You're listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. And I'm speaking today with Mr. Brad Close, President of NFIB. A Washington lobbyist group that understands the importance of small businesses to our economy and works to protect their rights and limit their tax burden.

Before the break, I'm not going to recap all the stuff we talked about. But if you're a small business, want to be owner, you need to go back and listen to this. You need to join NFIB. And that's about all I can say about the earlier parts. But it's good. It's a good show. I love talking about small business.

I was going to ask you, Brad, does NFIB offer any educational classes or anything to help small business owners learn?

[00:49:36] BC: We do. We have a webinar series that we do a couple times a month. We actually started this during the pandemic where we started doing weekly webinars on the PPP program and some of the other programs out there to help small business owner to get them the information they needed. They really liked it and we figured we might as well keep this going.

So now we've expanded it to different subjects right through. And it's run by our research center and our legal center. The two of them run it jointly. And sometimes we'll put a lobbyist on there to talk about maybe an issue in the states or the federal government that's percolating. But a lot of times, we'll have someone on there who may have some tips, some advice in certain areas on running a business, starting a business or things like that.

[00:50:14] KM: Is it interactive?

[00:50:15] BC: Yes. Yep. Everybody can have questions. We'll take questions on the show and then we always get back to people who get questions in but we don't have time to answer them.

[00:50:24] KM: I didn't mean to interrupt you. So it's every week, you said?

[00:50:27] BC: Every other Wednesday.

[00:50:29] KM: Every other Wednesday. If you're thinking of starting a small business, here are some more statistics. I thought this was really interesting. Getting ready for this show to me was really fun. Health care and social assistance have the highest survival rate when opening a business. Isn't that interesting? Health care – that seems like it'd be hard. And social assistance.

Over half of all small businesses are profitable. We mentioned that earlier. Small business owners are generally happy. We mentioned that. But 11% of small businesses fail the first year. 11%. Over half of small businesses fail in the next five years. And here's some of the reasons for failing.

Is that lawnmower driving you crazy?

[00:51:23] GM: I just texted Arwen. Is that our leaf blower or is that somebody doing –

[inaudible 00:51:27]

[00:51:35] KM: All right.

[00:51:37] GM: Old building again.

[00:51:39] KM: Single-pane windows. Reasons for failing. Cash flow issues. Everybody knows that. You can't make money without money. And every time you get a little bit of money, Brad understands this, the government looks at the income statement and says, "Oh, look. They made a little money. Let's tax it." When, really, you want to take that money and you want to invest it back in equipment, or your building, or advertising, or something else.

But one of the things, if you go to SBA, who is a great resource for people wanting to start a business, and you go to them and you ask them. Because they're the ones who helped me write my very first business plan, is they will tell you the best place to get money when you have no track record is from friends and family. Have you heard that before, Brad?

[00:52:23] BC: Yeah. When we've asked our members how they got started, there's two main ways to get their money. And that's one of them, friends and family. And the other is a lot of them will get a couple credit cards and max the credit cards out to start. They'll do that before they go take a loan. Because a lot of times, if you're starting out, you may not be able to get that loan because your business hasn't shown that it has potential yet. A lot of banks, even if you have a good relationship with a local one, they may not be willing to take a bet on you until you get started. For our members, when we pull them, family and friends and credit cards are the two main reasons where they get money.

[00:52:52] KM: That's 82% of the reason they fail. That's a huge amount. 82% – I don't know what that percentage is. Because all these don't add up to a hundred. I don't know what – cut this off, SBA. Scratch that 82%.

The other reason is lack of demand. That is believe in your own BS. You think everybody wants what you have and everybody's going to love it. And you haven't really done the market research. And you open a business and you find out nobody really wants what you're selling or what you're offering, which is probably why health care and social assistance are doing so well. Because the baby boomers are all aging up and they need that.

[00:53:33] BC: Absolutely.

[00:53:34] KM: There's a demand for that for sure. And then we talked about this a lot, Brad, lack of talent. And I would add to that. Because when I do breakfast clubs for small business people and they asked me to come and talk, one of the things that I hear probably like you, Brad, I can't find the talent. I can't find the talent. And I always say then you need to start training.

And I think a lot of business owners, the really successful business owners, have the heart of a teacher. And they're willing to take entry-level people and teach them the business. And I think that's why successful people have the heart of a teacher. Because you can't stand on the shoulders of the people you teach.

[00:54:22] BC: Yeah. That's a great point. I bet you, if you looked at the employee retention in those businesses too, they'd had a lot of long-term employees in state.

[00:54:31] KM: But I will say, putting together a training program is tough. I've done it. It's tough. It is tough. Lack of a business model is another reason. Go to the SBA. They will help you think through every – Small Business Development Center. Yeah. They will help think through everything.

[00:54:47] BC: They're part of it. Yeah. Yup.

[00:54:50] KM: I thought this one was interesting. Another big one is they ignore their customers. And I guess that means they're not listening to what their customers are asking for. Or they don't have follow-through.

[00:55:06] GM: Yeah. That's all I can think. Or aren't as available as necessary even. We talk all the time about how Flag and Banner has some of its success. Because we just bother to pick up the phone every day. And I'm sure that there's something to that too.

[00:55:19] BC: Absolutely.

[00:55:19] KM: Yeah, six days a week.

[00:55:20] GM: Yeah.

[00:55:23] KM: And a lot of people, I think, throw up websites and think they're going to sell stuff and then they don't have a way to talk to the people there or –

[00:55:33] GM: Get it to where they need.

[00:55:34] KM: Yeah. To get help. That customer service goes a long way. And then this is the last one that they had, which I totally relate to, poor marketing. Marketing is hard. It is a gray area. You don't know if it's working.

[00:55:47] GM: It's changing all the time.

[00:55:49] KM: It's expensive. You know you've got social media, direct mail, newspaper, TV.

[00:55:56] GM: Paid search.

[00:55:57] KM: Paid search, magazines, podcasts. I mean, it can just go – it can just go on and on forever. Those are hard for a small business to start off with. Thinking about marketing is tough. I've seen a lot of second-generation businesses fall to the wayside because the second-generation didn't know that they needed to continue to advertise. And people just forgot about them. People have short memories.

Where should a wannabe business owner go to get help with making a business plan and talk with an expert about previously mentioned pitfalls? Do you have any suggestions besides where I just mentioned?

[00:56:38] BC: Well, we always think nfib.com is a good place to go and learn. And we have folks you can call and talk to. Resources on site. And then you can learn about what we're doing in your state. A lot of our members care about what goes on in their state. And they care about what goes on in Washington. But they really want to focus on their state. And so, that's one of the things we do that's so unique is we have a program in each of our states.

Outreach to our members. We get them involved. Whether they want to get involved legislatively or they want to learn more about maybe what's going on in the courts or regulation-wise. Or they just want to talk to somebody about some challenges they're facing right now. We think NFIB is a great place for small business owners to check-in.

[00:57:18] KM: Is it in the state capital of every state? Where is NFIB?

[00:57:20] BC: Yup. Yup. Our headquarters are actually in Nashville, Tennessee. We have an office in DC. But in every state capitol, we've got a state director who – and then some of our states where we have bigger memberships, we have multiple staff.

[00:57:35] KM: How much is it to join NFIB?

[00:57:36] BC: Join. You can go right online. I think it's $185 or $189 to join online. If you go to nfib.com, it's right there.

[00:57:46] KM: What kind of business owner expect to get out of their membership when they join?

[00:57:51] BC: Well, they get people who fight for them. What we've realized is most small business owners join NFIB because they want help in their state capitals and in Washington, D.C. or the courts, right? They join for advocacy reasons. They want someone either pushing back or sticking up for what small business believes.

And so, when they join – and our members join at different levels. That 185 is what the smallest of businesses would join at. And then depending on how many employees you have, there's a kind of a list of rates there. But what they get is they get someone who is going to do exactly what we said we would do when they join. We're going to go fight for them. We keep you informed of what's going on. We give you opportunities to meet your legislators to talk to them. Maybe to talk to the media if you have a story to tell.

We had some members testifying in congress this year. We have a lot of members who testify at state government and different committee hearings before their Senate and their state house. So we try to give people a lot lots of opportunities to get involved. They can take as much time to get involved as they want or little. And a lot of our members just say, "Go fight for me. I'll see you next year when you stop by. I got a business to run." And that's fine too.

[00:58:57] KM: Right. They're just giving money to support your cause.

[00:58:59] BC: Yup. Yup. Yup.

[00:59:00] KM: How many members does NFIB have?

[00:59:02] BC: We've got just under 300, 000 right now. And those are scattered all across the country in all Industries. All Mom and Pops, average member, five to ten employees. Non-publicly traded. All independently-owned.

[00:59:14] KM: Well, Brad, I have sure enjoyed talking to you. This is one of my favorite subjects. Thank you so much for coming on the show and talking to us.

[00:59:20] BC: My pleasure. Thank you for having me, Kerry.

[00:59:22] KM: You're welcome. And for your parting gift, we're going to mail you a U.S. flag with Illinois. Didn't you say –

[00:59:27] GM: Sounds like Illinois is your home state.

[00:59:28] BC: Yes, that's right.

[00:59:29] KM: Is that right? All right. You're going to have Illinois. I guess we should put Washington, D.C. in there too since he's lived there a long time. We'll send you a desk set to remind you to remember your interview with us.

[00:59:38] BC: Thank you. Yeah.

[00:59:39] KM: Thanks again for joining us. In closing, I'd like to say to our listeners, thank you for spending time with us. We hope you've heard or learned something that's been inspiring or enlightening. And that it, whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence or your life.

I'm Kerry McCoy, and I'll see you next time on Up in Your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.

[OUTRO]

[00:59:59] GM: You've been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. For links to resources you heard discussed on today's show, go to flagonbanner.com, select radio and choose today's guest. If you'd like to sponsor this show or any show, email me, Gray, at gray@flagandbanner.com. All interviews are recorded and posted the following week. Stay informed of exciting upcoming guests by subscribing to our YouTube channel or podcast wherever you like to listen.

Kerry's goal is simple, to help you live the American dream.

[01:00:31] KM: Thank you, Brad.

[01:00:32] BC: You're welcome. That was great. Thank you.

[01:00:33] GM: Mm-hmm. Thank you.

[01:00:35] KM: It was great. We'll send you a copy. You can share if you want to or take sound bites out of it if you want to. Oh, good Lord. Was that me? Boy, we did that just in time. There goes my alarm going off.

Thank you, Brad. That was really fun. I appreciate it. Let me know if there's anything I can ever do for you.

[01:00:51] GM: I'll be emailing John. Is that who I've been talking to? Yes, with a link. After it's all done. And the week of your airing, we'll be sending you guys a link to the show with all of the podcast links and where it'll be on YouTube and stuff like that. And then you can use it as you like.

[01:01:10] KM: Thank you.

[01:01:10] GM: Excellent. Thanks, Brad. See you later.

[01:01:11] KM: Bye.

[END]


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