Imagine if a deep-pocketed businessman arrived in Denham Springs with eyes set on one of the best known business districts.
He sees the Antiques District – an eclectic mix of locally-owned “mom and pop” merchants. He would use his cash reserves to buy out one business after another.
If they don’t accept his offer, he’ll do everything in his might to shut them down.
It sounds like a dirty deal, correct? It may not seem as such to Linda K. McMahon, the newly confirmed administrator of the federal Small Business Administration.
McMahon, former President/CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, helped her husband, Vince McMahon, transform a Northeast-based professional wrestling
operation into a worldwide entity.
It took a strong sense of business acumen – and some major roles of the dice – played a big role in the growth of the promotion Vince bought from his father in 1982.
As promoter, Vince did not want competition. Instead, he sought total domination.
Vince bought out a promotion which ran on Superstation TBS and offered buyouts to major territories in the Midwest.
The Midwestern operation did not budge, nor did the other dozen or so promoters across the United States – and they suffered for it.
The McMahons raided talent from rival promoters, bought their TV time and secured exclusive leases on arenas his competitors used for years. They took much of that same talent, brought it to those rival cities under their names and systematically forced one locally-owned promotion after another out of business.
Within two decades, he put every rival organization out of business.
In pro wrestling, it was just the way of doing business, particularly since it generally stayed off the legal radar. Had it been almost any other business, they would’ve faced charges for predatory business practices.
The McMahons thrived not through a competitive workplace, as most areas of small business operate – including the Antique District. In their eyes, any competition was unacceptable, which violates one of the basic fundamentals of free private enterprise.
It was not much different than what we see when a “big box” retailer sets up shop directly across from the longtime “mom and pop” entrepreneur, as we have seen in Livingston Parish many times over the years. Some of the locally owned businesses have survived, but many others did not have the resources or name to compete with the superstores.
Some say the new SBA administrator’s previous success demonstrates how the head of a small business can make their operation much larger.
It also means the head of a group which looks after the rights and wellbeing of the humble local merchants now operates under the watch of a megalomaniac, someone who has little or no regard for the well-being of small businesses across America.
McMahon has had no experience in the operation of a small business. She brings to the table a “one size fits all” approach to small business that just does not do the trick for a sector which has a diverse list of wants and needs.
The Antiques District and other small business bastions across America rely on each other for their success. They thrive on variety, which makes the entire shopping area attractive to customers.
Perhaps McMahon will not use the success of her company as an example for small businesses. Otherwise, it will mark another blow to the American Dream.