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3C Insider: Congress Is Back—Here’s What You Need to Know

Congress is back following its August break. Before leaving last month, they passed a major piece of legislation and are working on several more bills that small businesses should keep an eye on. Here’s what you need to know:

Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)

While there were several vital provisions in this bill that passed last month, it’s worth focusing on the doubling of the refundable R&D tax credit for small businesses from $250,000 to $500,000. The credit can be applied against payroll taxes and a wide variety of expenses, including product development and technology. The expanded R&D tax credit probably won’t show up on tax returns until 2024 since it can first be claimed for tax year 2023, but this could boost small businesses, particularly the startups that it can incentivize. 

Looking ahead, there are two bills coming down the line this fall that are worth watching. 

Continuing Resolution (CR)

First is the bill needed to fund the federal government, which must be passed by the fiscal year deadline of Sept. 30th to avert a government shutdown. While many believe a shutdown will be averted, that’s never a sure thing in Washington. With that said, small businesses should act now if they have any outstanding business with the government to take care of, such as applications for loans with the Small Business Administration, in order to mitigate against the potential for delays or interruptions if the worst does happen.  

American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) / S.2992

Second, some policymakers are still trying to pass legislation that would make digital tools harder to use and more expensive. As 3C research shows, the bill (if passed) would cost millions of small businesses an average of $100,000 each and about $500 billion overall during just the first five years. That’s why 3C and small business leaders have strenuously opposed it.  While the bill faces an uphill battle this year, we can’t let our guard down yet. 

No matter what happens with AICOA, we know the fight doesn’t end here. We’ll need to keep Congress’ attention squarely on small businesses’ needs and priorities. 

Rob Retzlaff 

Executive Director

3C Events Survey

As a valued small business leader, we want to hear from you! We are conducting a short survey to gain insights on events and conferences small businesses attend. Have you attended events in the past? Do you plan to attend more in the future? We want to know! I am 3C – Small Business StoriesLawmakers need to see firsthand how digital tools make running a business easier. We would love for you to share an “I am 3C” vignette that reminds policymakers how important digital technologies are to your success. If you are interested in sharing your own story, simply let us know here.

COI Energy
Using Digital Tools To Protect Our Environment
COI Energy’s CEO, SaLisa Berrien, founded a startup that helps small businesses and the environment. The app she created helps companies communicate with utilities about how they can best cut down on energy waste—and then allows them to earn sellable energy credits by acting on the suggestions they receive. SaLisa’s company relies on several digital services, including Google Cloud and Google Maps, to make this collaboration seamless. Moreover, her company’s rise was powered by digital tools like Google Business Profile to get going in the first place. It’s no surprise then that SaLisa is alarmed by congressional attempts to make the kind of integrated services she relies upon harder to use or more expensive. As she put it, “I don’t understand why some in Congress think it’s okay to pass legislation that will negatively impact the ecosystem overall. The standard line I always hear is that ‘big is bad,’ however  large tech companies have been extremely supportive for my small business on several fronts, and we cannot afford to lose access to their services.”
Read the full story here.
3C Small Business Op-Eds
As you know, every issue is a small business issue. As policymakers rush to pass legislation, it’s crucial for them to hear from small business leaders like you before making decisions that could affect your company and your future. While there are many ways to make that happen, one of the most effective is submitting an opinion piece to your local newspaper, just as other small businesses have.  Congress must stop anti-tech legislation that will hurt small businesses Arizona Capitol TimesWilliam Campos, Sophisticated Marketing Solutions (Mesa, AZ) William Campos is the owner of an Arizona-based marketing company that helps small businesses improve their online marketing, find customers, and grow. While William knows how difficult it can be for smaller companies to invest in marketing, he also sees daily how easy it is for them to get online and build quickly with affordable digital tools from companies like Google, YouTube, and Microsoft. Now, however, he is concerned about some in Congress who continue to push legislation that would make digital tools more expensive and harder to use. William believes this could not only upend his own business but hurt many of his small business clients too. “This isn’t just a bill attacking ‘big tech.’ It’s legislation that would rewrite the rules of the digital economy with serious consequences for small businesses,” William warns. “Sens. Kelly and Sinema should oppose the AICOA and remain focused on making it easier, not harder, for small businesses to operate.” 

Roundtable Discussion: How To Be An Advocate For Small Businesses
Tuesday, September 13th1:00 PM EDT / 10:00 AM PDT Don’t miss 3C’s upcoming roundtable on how to be an advocate for your business. The discussion, moderated by retail expert and TV personality Hitha Herzog, will feature three small business advocates discussing their own experiences when it comes to meeting with elected officials, taking to social media, and getting their voices heard on the op-ed pages. All these tactics can make a big difference and this roundtable presents a great opportunity to learn how to use them most effectively.To sign up, please fill out your name, email address, and any questions you would like us to answer in this form. Even if you aren’t able to attend, please fill out the form anyway and we will make sure to send you a recording after the event.Click here to  RSVP nowYour Quick Digital FixAn icon or photo instantly communicates a message to an audience, so it’s important to pick the right one. The Noun Project is aiming to build “a global visual language” by offering millions of eye-catching icons and photos (its collections include everything from futuristic technology and renewable energy to plants) that are free for any business to use.  
Here are 5 more things you should know: 
1. It’s National Preparedness MonthIt’s that time of year—when small businesses should consider their readiness for potential surprises, left turns, or disasters. The Small Business Administration has a useful primer on what it takes to be prepared, and what businesses can do if the worst happens. Properly preparing for everything from hurricanes to cyber risks is crucial; the more digitally prepared a small business is, the better its chances of surviving.  
2. Create a successful YouTube business channel YouTube empowers everyone to create high-quality videos on its platform. With this step-by-step guide and the platform’s video creation tools and templates, any business can get going in just a few minutes with minimal planning and investment.  
3. 16 e-commerce trends small businesses should know The e-commerce market is rapidly changing and rapidly growing; expected to expand to $11 trillion by 2025. This means more opportunities for success for small businesses but also more decisions. With that in mind, Quickbooks reviews a list of important e-commerce trends— from increasing utilization of voice assistants to diversified payment options—that business leaders should know if they want to stand out from the crowd.  
4. How to identify and fix small business accounting inefficienciesOne way for small businesses to make their lives easier is to streamline their accounting processes. For example, many rely on spreadsheets when accounting software could make the whole process much simpler. And then there’s that large stack of receipts haunting the corner of the office. FreshBooks offers helpful recommendations on how to tackle that problem and many others. 
5. Retail marketing strategy: 15 ways to boost salesRetail marketing strategies are changing fast and Flipsnack is here with an overview of the core principles of retail marketing—what it calls the Four Ps of Product, Price, Place, and Promotion—along with 15 key strategies for businesses to consider right now. This includes everything from special promotions and giveaways to social media marketing on various platforms, and it is underlined with useful, real-world examples from actual companies. 
Do you have a small business story that you’d like to share with us or any questions or concerns you’d like us to address? Email us at membership@connectedcouncil.org

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