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Change for small business owners?

Well, wasn't that exciting? But as the post-mortem’s are being written on 2008’s seemingly-endless presidential election, it’s a prescient time to take a look at the shape of the small business world as we head into this new historical moment.

As we all know, these are trying times for small businesses. The credit crunch is biting and insurance costs are skyrocketing.

"The state of the union for small business is bad," says Moody's chief economist, Mark Zandi recently told CNN recently.

Here's more bad news for entrepreneurs: a recent Fortune Small Business/Zogby International poll says 42% of U.S. small-business owners have had their businesses had go down in the last four years.

That said, there are still reasons for small business owners to be positive. Just look at the boom in the education and health-service sectors last year. And with the low cost of the dollar, small businesses have enjoyed a bumper year for exports. Statistics from the Small Business Administration shows exports up 63 percent over the last five years for small firms.

Financial experts are now advocating a sensible approach for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Here are three elements which might be able to bring further relief:

* Health care costs: The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) was introduced by Congress in April 2008. The Small Business Association is excited by the cost-cutting opportunities that the bill presents.

* Credit cuts: there have been calls to the SBA to raise its current 7(a) loan guarantees from 75 – 85 percent to 100 percent. This move would go a long way towards restoring confidence of small business owners and getting them back in business

* Help exporters: some franchisors might not know about the Government’s Gold Key service. In this service, the Department of Commerce charges $700 to match business owners and distributors. There were 1,200 Gold Key requests and this is another tool that might help small business owners through this trying time.

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