Director of the Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon is newly appointed to the role by President Trump and the first of such appointees to visit the Silver State. She has a long history in business and was the co-founder and former CEO of WWE, which she helped grow from a 13-person regional operation to a worldwide organization with over 800 employees. She now serves as the 25th administrator for the SBA and, during her recent visit to Nevada, sat down with me to discuss her new position. Director of the Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon is newly appointed to the role by President Trump and the first of such appointees to visit the Silver State. She has a long history in business and was the co-founder and former CEO of WWE, which she helped grow from a 13-person regional operation to a worldwide organization with over 800 employees. She now serves as the 25th administrator for the SBA and, during her recent visit to Nevada, sat down with me to discuss her new position.
What are your plans for the SBA?
The SBA’s mission is to help create the environment where entrepreneurs can grow and start their businesses, so they can create jobs and grow the economy. Clearly, my vision for the SBA is to make sure we do that in as many ways as we can.
It’s not just about guaranteeing loans, although that is clearly a big part of what SBA does. But, I have found that the mentoring and the counseling services SBA offers are almost as valuable to our entrepreneurs who are starting or growing their businesses. We actually counsel on how to get access to capital. We also counsel in terms of growing your business and, sometimes, we look at it and say, you know what, this is not a very good business idea so you have to go back to the table.
We are very fortunate to have great counseling available to us. [We try] to reach as many people as we can, my goal is to keep reaching more and more people.
What SBA programs should Nevada entrepreneurs know about?
I don’t think it’s any different for Nevada than it is for any other state in terms of programs that are available [such as] our women’s business centers, SCORE centers and small business development centers. We have micro loans that attach themselves to different organizations. We have community advantage loans that are typically done with a non-profit organization that SBA grants the money to that then gives the money to an organization that’s trying to build a business within the community.
What advice would you have for a small business that’s just starting out?
First of all, have the proper kind of capital when you start so you don’t, after you enter your business, suddenly run out of money and you just can’t keep your business going. The only way you know what kind of capital you need is through your business plan. You have to get good advice; if you don’t know that yourself, that [counseling] is some of what SBA offers.
I always tell folks, do something you’re passionate about because you’re going to work very hard when it’s your risk on the line. Often, an entrepreneur who starts a business is, not only the CEO or president, they’re the janitor, the bookkeeper, the supply orderer – they wear many hats. I also tell them, get money when you don’t need it. When your business is doing well, go in, sit down with your banker and try to establish a line of credit because, when you need money to keep your business going, you can’t get it. You have to get those things in place while you’re doing well.
How do you plan to boost women-owned businesses?
One component of women-owned businesses that we hope to continue to grow is in the procurement field, with government contracts. The government has a goal that 5 percent of its contracts would be awarded to women small businesses. I want to get us, not only to that 5 percent, but I want to get us above that. We’re going to be counseling more women on how to do that.
What do you see as the future for small business in America?
Booming. We have the greatest optimism in the country today for small businesses to start businesses than in the past 16 years. A lot of that, I would attribute to our President, who is a strong advocate for small business. When he asked me to take this job, he said he wanted someone in the job who’d actually built a business and knew what that was like. The hard times and the good times. Small businesses are taking more risks right now. We’re having more businesses start and we’re having more women start businesses than men.