Starting and sustaining a small business has never been easy.

Yet their economic contributions are essential to our nation’s prosperity since small businesses create two out of three new jobs and generate income for more than 50 percent of working Americans.

In September, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reaffirmed these small business job numbers, but also reported troubling statistics about their endurance.

On one hand, CRS confirmed that small enterprises continue to account for a majority of all new jobs.  At the same time, the research reminded us that a third of all small business start-ups fail within 24 months – and more then half are forced to close their doors within 5 years.

Clearly, more – much more – needs to be done to help support and sustain small businesses over the longer term.

At Intuit, we proudly count more than 3 million small business owners in the country as customers.   We constantly communicate with them in order to better understand their needs and to guide us in our ongoing development of solutions that work for them.

Every day we are reminded that while every business is unique in some way, many share common challenges that are beyond their control and require help from policymakers both in Congress and State Capitols.

To help raise their voice in the policy process, we recently created a Small Business QuickBooks Council from the ranks of our customers.  On November 19, 2019, we brought them to Washington, D.C. to meet with their Senators, Representatives and Administration officials.

They came from Arizona, California, Idaho, Texas and Virginia and brought with them an agenda of their own, supported by the collective opinions of thousands of small business owners just like themselves.

In meetings all across the Capitol, they asked their elected officials to focus on four issues they believe are vital to their viability and continued success.  Through their own stories, they made the following appeals:

Technological advancement.

The business owners asked for their government to embrace and enable technology that can improve their productivity, strengthen their financial condition and aide their compliance with both state and federal laws.

Access to capital.

Even financially sound small business owners say they struggle with access to both investment and working capital.  While traditional sources of capital lending such as banks and credit unions are making fewer and fewer small business loans, new and emerging sources of non-bank capital are struggling to comply with a complex web of state and federal regulations. Because of limited resources to capital, our Council members asked that more be done to enable transparent, data driven online lending.

Workplace benefits.

Increasingly, both the self-employed and those employed by a small business find themselves without health insurance, protection against unemployment or disability and lacking a plan or the means to help fund retirement.  Benefits once routinely associated with employment are disappearing and have increasingly become an individual responsibility.  Workers need new options and they are looking to their elected representatives to elevate their needs and concerns to a national priority.

Regulatory relief.

Small businesses face a growing number of complex laws, rules, regulations and taxes.  Despite the good intentions behind so many of these requirements, the cumulative effect and cost of compliance can create a crippling burden on small businesses that often lack the manpower or the resources to do it all.  Our small business Council asked for the repeal of outdated regulations, “carve outs,” for the smallest enterprises and greater leniency in fulfilling time sensitive or costly requirements.

At the end of a busy day of meetings with Members of Congress, Congressional staff and Treasury Department officials, both our Small Business Council and the respective government representatives reported a shared sense of accomplishment and appreciation for the direct sharing of information and ideas.

Intuit was built on an optimism that sees boundless opportunities in every small business.  Through our Small Business QuickBooks Council we intend to continue advocating for policies to help them to grow, prosper and thrive.