It’s Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight…

I saw Mr. Barack Obama being interviewed by Mr. George Stephanopoulos over the weekend (is anyone named John Smith anymore?). Let me say first that these are two very cool customers. In addition, and no less significant, these are two guys with clear agendas. Finally, lest it escape everyone’s attention, these are two people who came from relatively simple and somewhat humble beginnings.

It just goes to show that anything can happen in America. What do they say at the poker tables in Las Vegas? All you need is a chip and a chair.

Mr. Obama mentioned in his interview that he is concerned about small businesses. Apparently with all the bailouts for the big dogs, no one is paying much attention to the puppies, and he sees that as a problem. More specifically, he said said he wants the second half of a $700 billion financial bailout fund available to him as “ammunition” in the event of an economic emergency and promised to direct more of the money to small businesses and homeowners.

Larry Summers, Obama’s top economic adviser, said: “President-elect Obama believes there has been too little transparency and accountability; too much upside for financial institutions and executives who acted irresponsibly without providing enough help for small-business owners, families who are struggling to keep their jobs and make ends meet, and innocent homeowners.”

Though there is no accepted standard for what constitutes small, I think most of us know it when we see it. Small business are the backbone and the hope of this country, as they have been for nearly five centuries. Think about it: most great businesses (if not all) start small.

Close your eyes and you can almost see them – people with an idea, tinkering away in their garage or basement, confident in their potential and hopeful of their success, believing in their future and how it can be better.

The thing is, you really don’t need to get behind small businesses. You don’t even have to prop them up with $350 billion in support. Just get out of their way. Allow them to explore and experiment and succeed. And don’t allow the government – at any level – to suck all the wind out of their sails before they can even leave the dock.

Aeschylus, Mr. Robert Kennedy’s favorite poet, once said: “From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.”

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.