Small Business Consultant and Coach Speaks Before Congressional Panel - U.S. Government Support of Small Businesses Will Speed Employment and Economic Growth

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Businesswoman Ellen Kaplan spoke before the Democratic Small Business Forum on Thursday. Kaplan, founder and president of Massachusetts-based consulting and coaching company Possibilities@Work, spoke about the critical issues facing growing businesses today.

Peabody, Mass. businesswoman Ellen Kaplan spoke before the Democratic Small Business Forum on Thursday. Kaplan, founder and president of Peabody-based consulting and coaching company Possibilities@Work, spoke about the critical issues facing growing businesses today. She left a report outlining her recommendations with members of Congress attending the forum. The report is available at http://www.possibilities-at-work.com .

"Starting and running a small business always involves overcoming risks," Kaplan said. "Congress can help more companies survive unstable growth by providing breaks specifically for small businesses."

Kaplan's report outlines the impact of limited funding, the high-cost of health benefits and restrictive government regulations on the growth of small businesses. It also proposes that the federal government support small business coaching and ongoing forums for business owners to discuss challenges and solutions with each other. This can be done through the enhancement of the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). By expanding the scope of SBDC offerings, the government can help prevent many costly mistakes that force vulnerable businesses to close, Kaplan told the congressional hearing. She used examples from her clients to illustrate the problems facing small businesses today.

The forum focused on several issues currently before Congress including a tax credit for 50 percent of health benefit costs for small businesses, a bill that would cut the funding for SBA loans and one supporting opportunities for small businesses to get a piece of the government procurement pie. House members also used this forum to understand the impact of off-shore outsourcing on small business.

Invited to speak before the sub-committee by Massachusetts Congressman John Tierney, Kaplan was one of six Bay State business people to participate. In all, 80 business owners from across the country testified before 20 Democratic representatives about what they need to grow and to provide additional jobs to help the economy. Calif. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader, put the sub-committee together. Addressing small business issues is one of five major initiatives she is focusing on this year.

Possibilities@Work helps owners of small technology and service businesses grow into profitable enterprises while avoiding costly mistakes. The process Possibilties@Work's clients go through eliminates much of the stress growing companies experience and makes running a business more enjoyable and profitable.

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Ellen Kaplan