Linda McMahon: From Wrestlemania to Head of the Small Business Administration

Image courtesy Fortune Live Media

Governmental regulations are one of the most difficult things for any small business to keep track of. This is especially true after an election, when there are large scale changes in leadership and policy.

One change that small businesses should pay attention to right now is the recent appointment of Linda McMahon as head of the Small Business Administration (SBA). McMahon is best known as the co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) with her husband Vince McMahon, who is still currently the chairman and CEO of the company.

Linda McMahon’s role in growing WWE from a small single office into a global brand was not only in the boardroom. She also spent significant time as an on-screen character, especially in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Her appearances were usually in storylines about power struggles involving Vince and their children, Stephanie and Shane. She also appeared on-screen with massive wrestling stars like  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Triple H—who is now her son-in-law and COO of WWE.  

This aspect of Linda McMahon’s career seems almost surreal in comparison to her new governmental role. She is not the first person from the professional wrestling world to cross over into politics, though. Former governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, was a wrestler and commentator for the then-WWF. Even Donald Trump was involved in a match at Wrestlemania 23 in 2007 and is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.

It might be hard for some to look past the theatrical aspects of McMahon’s business career. However, it is important that small business owners understand what she plans to do as the leader of the SBA.

Here are some things to pay attention to if you don’t want to get blindsided by the steel chair of changing regulations and policy.

Regulation Advocacy

McMahon has stated that she plans to strengthen the SBA’s political advocacy efforts in Washington. She specifically wants to ease regulations that negatively impact small business owners. This should be very welcome news to small business owners considering the large amount of time and effort that goes into not only complying with regulations, but also keeping up to date and informed on any changes that occur.

However, any time that there are changes in regulations, even when they impact you positively, you need to be aware of them so that you can remain compliant.  

Federal Contracts

McMahon hopes to simplify and streamline a burdensome application process for small businesses trying to land contracts with the federal government. She also said that making it easier for small businesses to effectively compete for these contracts against larger businesses will be a priority of the SBA under her leadership.

These contracts could be massive opportunities for small businesses. If McMahon is successful in making them more accessible it is important that you know how to find these opportunities and apply for them. Otherwise, you could be missing out on huge boosts to your business. Even worse, they could be going to one of your direct competitors.

1099 vs. W-2

While McMahon has not specifically addressed the issue of 1099 regulations as something she will focus on as the head of the SBA, her attitudes toward them as a businessperson are worth noting.

WWE has always classified their wrestlers and on-screen talent as independent contractors, not employees. This is despite the fact that under most criteria used to determine this classification, these people should be considered employees. By going this route, WWE has consistently saved a large amount of money in things like taxes and insurance costs. This has certainly drawn criticism at numerous times along the way from a wide range of sources.

Regardless, while it still seems too early to tell if she will be able influence changes to independent contractor regulations, it is important to understand where things currently stand and what impact that has on your business.

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