[EDITOR’S NOTE — Ready Pac Foods CEO Tony Sarsam is one of the industry’s best-known names. He will be the keynote speaker at the United Fresh FreshMKT show in Chicago next week. SPW welcomes contributions from the industry. If you are interested in submitting an editorial, contact us at email@example.com]
I try to stay out of the political fray as much as possible. However, jumping in now, during the formation of President Trump’s administration, seems like a reasonable exception.
Being President of the United States is an enormously complex job, and more than any job on earth, it is results-oriented with a very captive audience. Throughout his business career, Donald Trump prided himself on getting things done. Thus far, President Trump has governed that way, too. Many of the things he said he wanted to do in his first 100 days, have been set in motion. He knows what he wants to do, and doesn’t want people to wonder what is most important to him. While I don’t agree with everything he is doing, he is a man with a plan of action and I respect that.
Medium-sized businesses face unique challenges, opportunities
The recent introduction of a new plan to cut corporate taxes by 15 percent is just one example of many that illustrates President Trump’s zeal in overhauling the status quo. In many ways, that is similar to how the head of a medium-sized business must act every day. These companies generate annual revenues between $50 million and $1 billion and make up one of the most crucial parts of the U.S. economy.
Medium-sized companies, like Ready Pac Foods, provide products and services that people rely on every day. Some of the challenges and opportunities we face on key issues such as health care costs, taxes, immigration and regulation are similar to both larger and smaller companies. Other challenges, however, are unique to us.
For instance, medium-sized enterprises are big enough to be held to many of the same regulatory standards as larger companies, ones that some small businesses can avoid. And, while we don’t have the same resources as big companies, we are often constrained to pay the burdensome cost of regulation. We are certainly large enough to need a presence in Washington, but we often have to join a larger organization, like the Grocery Marketing Association (GMA) or United Fresh Produce Association, to be our voice on Capitol Hill.
Make your voice heard above the fray
Of course, I also see some real advantages. A CEO of a big company doesn’t always have the time or capacity to understand all the details of their business, but the CEO of a medium-size business has far fewer layers of management and must understand the details quite completely. Those heading medium-sized businesses, like mine, are closer to their people, and will have more of a connection with frontline employees than CEO’s of large businesses. CEO’s of medium-sized businesses also don’t have to worry as much about the public scrutiny that larger company CEOs must feel on many fronts.
Lately, I’ve gotten to thinking about these concerns and opportunities that medium-sized businesses share, across all main sectors of the economy. Just being in communication with the President and other key officials in Washington could really help both the companies and the administration, in my view. I hope such a dialogue happens.
While large companies get the headlines, medium-sized companies are often the ones with a direct impact on more people.
I recently sent a letter to President Trump formally suggesting a new coalition of medium-sized businesses, which would have direct and regular dialogue with the President and his administration. I encourage other CEOs of medium-sized businesses to jump in and support this idea. I believe that such a coalition could add a candid and informed voice to the various debates in Washington, and we will all benefit from that!