Washington (CNN) – After her bicycle shop fell victim to a tough economic climate, Denise D'Amour took some time to regroup and then tried again.
In less than one year, she opened a stripped-down version of her Capitol Hill Bikes store: a tighter operation in a smaller space with fewer employees and less overhead.
"We've become lean and mean," D'Amour said. "Mostly I think we've learned to deal within the tough environment. There's not a lot of people coming to offer me money. There's not a lot of stuff that will improve our cash position that we were suffering from nine months ago, except for our own ingenuity."
Both then and now, D'Amour said the chief problem for small business owners is access to financing. And lawmakers want small businesses to know this complaint is reaching Washington.
President Obama urged Congress last week to move forward on a bill designed to help small businesses, including a $30 billion lending fund to loosen credit lines and $12 billion in tax breaks.
That will help but it won't solve the problem, said Anne Mathias, director of policy research at Concept Captial.
"It's not going to bring a rush of people into stores to buy whatever it is these different small businesses have to offer, but it will help," she said. "It'll help kind of at the back end."
Republicans say the bill won't have much effect and are urging the president to extend the Bush administration's tax cuts.
Todd McCracken, the president of the National Small Business Association disagrees.
"Putting money in the pockets of both consumers and small business people so they can take advantage of the opportunities when they come along is crucial," McCracken said Sunday morning on State of the Union with Candy Crowley.
D'Amour does see cause for hope at her store, however. She employs 10 people now and she's looking to hire more.
"Our customers have come back, and they're spending some money now," she said. "So the economy has improved somewhat."