SBA chief Linda McMahon tours RGV business

Linda McMahon, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, speaks with Wycotax tax-preparation company owner Christopher Wycoco on Monday in Harlingen. McMahon was in the Rio Grande Valley as part of a national tour of SBA district offices. (Steve Clark | The Brownsville Herald).

McMahon, who with her husband built World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) into a large multinational corporation, paid a visit to Wycotax tax preparation and payroll company in Harlingen, chatting with company founder Christopher Wycoco for several minutes inside the small office while reporters and Wycotax employees in matching T-shirts looked on.

Angela Burton, director of SBA Lower Rio Grande Valley District Office, accompanied McMahon on her visit. Talking to reporters after the conversation with Wycoco, who has received SBA help through the district office, McMahon described small businesses as the glue that holds communities together, citing a statistic that about 68 cents of each dollar spent at a small business stays in the community.

She also noted that small businesses typically support each other out, especially in times of hardship.

McMahon said that in addition to success in business she’s experienced failure, once filing for bankruptcy, all of which she believes helps her understand what small-business owners grapple with on a daily basis.

“I can tell you we grew WWE from the ground up,” McMahon said. “I was booking cash receipts to counting T-shirts to doing all those kinds of things. … I think (business owners) can get a genuine understanding that I’m legitimate in what I’m trying to say to them. And I think that’s very important.”

Part of her advice to budding entrepreneurs is to find something you enjoy doing, and then do that.

“Do something you’re passionate about, that you really love, because if you’re an entrepreneur it’s a 24/7 job. … You have to love it in order to do it,” McMahon said.

Plus, make sure to have adequate cash on hand before taking the plunge, she said.

“The thing is, don’t go in undercapitalized if possible, because the drain on cash flow, the management of cash flow, is one of the reasons that small businesses fail,” McMahon said.

Sworn in as SBA administrator in February, since May she’s visited 65 SBA district offices in keeping with her pledge to hit all 68 during her tenure. By the end of next week she will have met that goal, visiting all 50 states, McMahon said.

Burton said the purpose of McMahon’s tour is so she can hear the challenges of small-business owners around the nation and let them know SBA is there to help and advocate for them.

“The SBA is sometimes considered a best-kept secret,” Burton said. “She’s really taken it to a different level, to make sure folks know about the SBA. … She’s very pro business, and just very interested in making sure we have all the tools we need, and that we’re out there doing all we can to support small business.”