Home Depot co-founder and billionaire businessman Bernie Marcus isn’t sure he’d be able to build the home improvement chain today if he tried, given the burden of regulations affecting small businesses and a challenging economic backdrop.
“I don’t think so,” said Marcus — a well-known proponent of free market capitalism and small business — in a new issue of Yahoo Finance Presents. “I think if we had the regulations that we have today, Home Depot would be a chain of 12 stores. I just don’t think we could have grown.”
Marcus also had some choice words for politicians, the Biden administration, and the occupier of the Oval Office in particular.
“Most people in Washington have never owned a business,” adds Marcus, who is also the new author of Kicking Up Some Dust: Lessons in Thinking Big, Giving Back, and Doing It Yourself. “You have a president who has never worked a day in his life – never worked a day in his life. What the hell does he know about economics?
A new Bank of America survey found that inflation, commodity prices, a possible recession, interest rates and the political environment in the US are among the top concerns for small businesses.
New findings in early September about Kabbage small businesses were also devastating.
“Though revenue has increased, the data also shows that overall profits for U.S. small businesses fell slightly by 4% over the same period,” the survey noted. “The data shows that small businesses continue to anticipate future economic headwinds, with 75% of respondents saying they are affected by inflationary pressures and 56% expecting the pressures to last at least a year until summer 2023.”
Marcus, who co-founded The Home Depot with two businesses in 1979 with friend Arthur Blank and retired as Home Depot’s chairman in 2002, was also the founder of the influential small business lobbyist, the Job Creators Network.
Today, Home Depot is a sprawling retail chain with more than 2,300 stores across the United States and Canada.
Marcus reiterated that more needs to be done to empower small businesses.
“Running a business, hiring people, training people and being able to make a product takes a certain skill and you have to understand that skill,” added Marcus. “For heaven’s sake, running a small pizza restaurant takes skill. And they are [small businesses] being beaten up every day. And we fight on a hilltop every day to surpass some of those regulations. Some we win, some we lose. But there is nobody out there who really puts in the time and effort.”
Brian Soci is a freelance editor and Anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and further LinkedIn.
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