An Open Letter to the San Francisco Supervisors - 4/7/16


Dear San Francisco Supervisors,

Do you know what small business is? Most people are not asking this question because they don’t even understand the question. The term ‘small business’ is used for pretty much any business that is not a chain. I don’t think this is fair to most small business owners.

We should have another category for businesses that have fifty or less employees and make less than three million dollars per year. These businesses should be called “micro businesses”, and when laws are being passed the needs of micro businesses should be taken into account. Micro businesses can’t handle what most “small” businesses can handle. Micro businesses can’t pay for expensive lawyers or lobbyists. Allotting for Paid Time Off and paid maternity leave could put micro businesses in a position of not be able to grow or they might go out of business.

Please stop hurting micro business. I believe entrepreneurs can’t start interesting new ventures in San Francisco because of the regulations and bureaucracy. You have created a system in which, in order to procure building permits or any permits, you must hire an expediter who knows the ropes so that you don’t go around in a never-ending circle. Do you understand that every time you decide to up minimum wage, or give maternity leave, health care mandate or any other new legislations for business owners, you directly hurt micro businesses? You do understand that San Francisco is losing its mom and pop shops because they just can’t afford to do business here anymore. We have also lost our middle class and your legislation and regulations are causing this

Here are my proposed categories:

Micro Business - 0-50 (making less than $3 million)

Small Business - 50-100 ($3 million-$20 million)

Big Business - 100+ ($20 million or more in revenue)

If you decide a twenty person business can handle $15 per hour, health care, paid time off and also paid maternity leave, then you have zero idea how to budget for a micro business. My business makes less than one million per year. I pay my employees a fair wage and I am a good boss but I can’t grow because I get no help from San Francisco.

First of all, I own a spa and you have put the spa industry in San Francisco in the sexual massage category, and this has dramatically affected legitimate massage therapists.

Then, when person goes into DBI (Department of Building Permits) and tries to get information about opening a spa in SF they first start with the Planning Department, where the people behind the counter give all the wrong information. Did you know this? I was given so much terrible information over the counter.

You have created a culture geared toward helping very, very rich people. You have created a culture that rewards businesses that decide to ask for forgiveness rather than for permission. Lyft, Uber, and Airbnb are examples of this. I am not picking on these now billion dollar businesses but if I would have done something illegal you would have shut me down but because these entities have the money to fight the system then you let them go on doing business.

You are killing micro businesses in our city. I don’t want a city full of big corporations and restaurant groups who own everything. I like the mom and pop places, or micro businesses, but they can’t afford to be here and they shouldn’t be here because it isn’t worth the stress. What are you going to do about this? The heart and soul of the city depends on your answers.

Sincerely,

Candace Combs, CEO of In-Symmetry Wellness Spa

President of Mission Creek Merchant Association