Shame On You If You Pull the Ladder Up After You
Earlier this month, while I was on Capitol Hill and at the FDA advocating Indie Beauty Network member positions against the FDA Globalization Act of 2008, I was accompanied by 4 amazing women. Each has at least one successful and profitable business, yet, she took time away from her rice bowl to join me in a fight that will positively impact business owners around the country for years to come.
Kayla Fioravanti, Anne-Marie Faiola, Lela Barker and Jamila White are screaming examples of women who are not so wrapped up in their own success stories that they abandon a moral obligation to pave the way for others to enjoy the same opportunities they have.
In one of our meetings, Lela told a Congressional staffer that her business could pay the $12,000 in fees that are contemplated by the draft law. As she put it, "I won't like it, but I can and will write the check if I have to."
Then she said this: "Even though I can pay the fees and keep up with the paperwork, my concern is that there are many others who cannot. I'm here because I do not want to enjoy the fruits of entrepreneurship and then pull the ladder up after me."
Don't Pull The Ladder Up After You
This summarizes all of our efforts. Those of us who traveled to Capitol Hill have been blessed with profitable businesses. We have been blessed with good health and with friends, family members, industry colleagues clients and customers who have supported us along the way.
But we started our businesses in an environment that has a level playing field. And now, just as the Indie Beauty industry begins to take flight, new laws threaten to replace the level playing field with an ocean of paperwork and a mountain of fees that would make it impossible for anyone to follow in our footsteps.
We are not about to let that happen without a battle.
It's Not About Us
You may have watched A Civil Forum on Saturday evening on CNN, featuring Barack Obama and John McCain being "civilly" grilled separately for an hour a piece in a non-debate format by Rick Warren, author of the best selling book The Purpose Driven Life.
Warren's book begins with the words, "It's not about you."
Kayla, Anne-Marie, Lela and Jamila's example reminds all of us that it's not about us. Nothing ever is. While our businesses may be "secure," for the short term, we cannot rest on our laurels with the attitude that, security for our lifetime, 50 years give or take, is good enough. It's not.
Fifty years is a drop in the bucket. After that, what about our children? What about their children? Their spouses? What Indie options they have? Will they be stuck buying from big box cookie-cutter stores? Or will they be able to start their own Indie Businesses, and also patronize their fellow Indie Business owners? Those future opportunities, if they are to be had, must be secured now.
We cannot let the chips fall where they may, get on with our businesses and leave the consequences to be sorted out by future generations.
American's Economic Future Depends On Preserving The Ladders We Now Climb
Our country is at a critical time in its history. We are in debt to foreign countries like China and numerous Middle Eastern nations. America's biggest and most successful companies are being purchased by overseas companies, a recent example being the purchase last month of Anheuser-Busch by Belgian Company InBev (pdf).
American companies are laying off workers at a rapid clip. These workers are finding new jobs at foreign owned companies that have US operations. A case in point: Haier Group, a multinational manufacturer of consumer appliances that was founded in China in 1984. One of Haier's main manufacturing arms is staffed by workers in a Camden, South Carolina plant. These workers were once employed by US-owned textile manufacturing companies.
Even American companies that can keep people on the payroll are offering increasingly fewer benefits. Pay increases, when they do come, are not keeping pace with inflation, the increasing cost of food and gas and the ridiculously staggering cost of an undergraduate college education.
Some say America is losing its edge. That may be. But if we don't ensure that mothers, fathers, sons and daughters are able to own and manage Indie Businesses in years to come, America will lose much more than an edge. It will lose the very foundation of its Constitution: the unalienable right that each family members has to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The Indie Business Revolution
I believe this nation is in the midst of what I call the Indie Business Revolution. People are rising up in the face of numerous governmental and big business failures to take care of themselves and each other. We are reaching across state boundaries and traditional distinctions of all kinds to uplift and motivate one another to new heights as individuals, families and business leaders.
A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships
I am honored and humbled to be working with women like Kayla, Anne-Marie, Lela and Jamila who are determined to do everything within their power to ensure the continuance of a level playing field in our industry, and across all industries, for generations to come. These women understand that their success must also pave the way for others to be successful.
They feel a sense of urgency. They know they must act now. Before it's too late.
This is not about them. It's about fashioning an economic landscape where everyone has a chance to enjoy the benefits of business ownership, and is able to use their business to provide for their needs and also for the needs of those who will one day stand on their shoulders.
It's about building a ladder and then leaving it in place so that others may climb it behind them.
What about you?
Have you signed our Petition to fight the FDA Globalization Act of 2008? Over 2,600 people have. Why not you? Have you written a letter to your Congressional representative? To a media representative in your area? Leave a comment below with your thoughts on how you are making a difference so future generations can be economically independent.
And don't forget to leave a link so we can visit your site to find out more.
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