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Trump’s Small Business Administrator says optimism turning into action

Stock photo of a random coffee shop.
Stock photo of a random coffee shop.

U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon knows how the power of positive thought can translate into business success.

When she and her husband Vince McMahon were building their wrestling entertainment powerhouse, WWE, they took a big risk on a new medium that catapulted them into fame, fortune and financial success.

McMahon, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, recounted the early days of WWE and what amounted to a turning point for the company in the mid-1980’s.

“When we did WrestleMania I, which was in 1985, we had everything hocked up to our eyes, I do believe, if WrestleMania I had not been a success. But WrestleMania I was a huge success. It really started the industry of pay-per-view. And so, from that point on, it was a turning point. We became a bigger business. We had a lot more appreciation of who we are and what we were doing as an entertainment company. So, it was a big turning point for us,” she said.

While the overall American economy is doing well, business investment is still touch-and-go, in part due to the recent volatility from trade and tariff battles that President Trump has launched with allies and adversaries. McMahon said that small business optimism will prevail.

“Entrepreneurs are risk-takers and they’re not going to take that risk if they don’t feel optimistic about their potential,” McMahon said, noting that a recent National Federation of Independent Businesses survey pegged small business optimism at a near 45-year high.

“I think optimism is a key to entrepreneurs being willing to take that risk. And then, when they look at, ‘Okay, here’s where I can go. I can see now that I do have access to capital.’ Deregulation, with the rollback of many of the regulations under Dodd-Frank, creates more access to capital through community banks,” she said.

On a 68-city listening tour, McMahon has been promoting the many programs that SBA offers entrepreneurs from startups to seasoned businesses.

“[People] get mentoring through our SCORE offices, our SBDC groups, our Women’s Business Centers, our Veterans Outreach Centers. And in fact, one of the small businesses that I’m going to visit later on today has been a user of many of the SBA loans, of the Emerging Leaders Program, and can attest to how optimism moves entrepreneurs into doing things, as well as access to capital and the issues that a lot of entrepreneurs face,” she said.

McMahon said she doesn’t think the tariff and trade wars have killed economic momentum. She contends that tariff battles are part of a longer-term effort to correct decades worth of imbalances around the globe.

“I don’t think, clearly, we’ve killed momentum. I think that there are certain times of the year that we see that businesses do invest as well. Do I think trade for the long-term, I mean, the president, this is a long game for him. The United States has been treated so unfairly. He’s a free and fair trade person,” McMahon said. “A little indecision sometimes makes businesses wait for a minute, but I think we’re really on a good path to see this investment and growth continuing.”

You can watch McMahon’s full interview in the video below.

Talk Business and Politics is a content partner of KASU.  Their show airs on KASU 91.9 FM on Mondays and Fridays during NPR’s Morning Edition at 6:51 am.  It also airs during NPR’s All Things Considered on Wednesdays at 5:20 pm.  You can follow more of their coverage on their website TalkBusiness.net where you can also catch the latest Northeast Arkansas news.

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Roby Brock is the Editor-in-Chief and Host of Talk Business & Politics.