Ed Rensi Gives a Small Business Call to Arms
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Entrepreneur and creator of the Chicken McNugget Ed Rensi is worried.
The former McDonald’s CEO says small businesses and entrepreneurs are being strangled by layers and layers of local, state and federal regulations.
“We’re allowing the root system to rot,” Rensi told the approximately 800 attendees at the opening of America’s Small Business Summit 2012. “We’re denying opportunity to so many people. We need to be scared, people.”
In his far-reaching speech, Rensi talked about the opportunities and challenges of owning a small business. After retiring from McDonalds, Rensi took some time off before jumping back in the burger business. He recently opened Tom and Eddie’s, a chain of four upscale burger restaurants in Illinois, but now without running into bureaucratic hurdles. Rensi got passionate while talking about his run-ins with an architectural review committee that would not let him use his signature orange-and-lime green color scheme for a location in a strip mall. “I thought I was dealing with people who understood the free enterprise system,” Rensi says. “If I had known then what I know now, I’d never have built in that community.”
The biggest difference between McDonald’s and his own small business, Rensi says, is resources, something that other small business owners in the audience could relate to.
But small businesses do have one big advantage: they’re collective voice, Rensi says. “Small business is where the solutions – the fuzzy thinking – is going to be found.”
He urged the Summit attendees to “quit sitting on your butt whining and do something.” Get involved in your local government, write a letter to your Congressman, get involved in education, but do something and make a difference, Rensi said.