Election 2016: Issues That Affect Small Business Owners

Small business owners regularly stress over economic and business conditions and each often involve uncertainty. And, right now, few things are more uncertain than the outcome of the Presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The contentious 2016 presidential race is generating anxiety among small business owners and could create problems for job creation and domestic hiring in the near future, according to a series of business sentiment trackers. According to the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, while small business owners’ confidence in the economy is at a three-year high, 35% of small business owners are concerned about the 2016 presidential election.

“Anxiety is high regarding the impact of the fall elections, the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders and health care costs, possibly explaining why small businesses are taking a wait-and-see approach before making plans for hiring and growth,” Robb Hilson, small business executive at Bank of America, said in a statement accompanying the report. “Nearly 4 out of 5 (79 percent) small business owners express concern over the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders.”

Those results aren’t far off from those noted by the Capital One Spark Business Barometer which showed that 1 in 4 small business owners were more worried about the elections than about “competition, hiring and retaining talent and the regulatory environment.”

And much like the Bank of America report, chief among their concerns were tax policies, economic growth and health care costs.

“Now is a critical time for small businesses as the country anticipates a change in leadership and new opportunities and challenges, such as market dynamics and new regulations and tax laws, which can have a significant impact on business results,” Keri Gohman, head of small business banking at Capital One, said in a statement accompanying the report.

As the presidential election continues to evolve, there are key issues of concern to small business owners. And, many of these concerns are likely to be affected by the candidate elected to national office. Among these:

  • 68% worried about health care costs
  • Small business owners cited concerns about taxes (58%) – including Internet sales, capital gains, corporate or export.
  • 54% were concerned about interest rates
  • 46% mentioned poor credit availability
  • 35% referenced an increase in the minimum wage.

Preparation – It’s About Getting Your House In Order

So how do small business owners best prepare themselves and their business in this uncertain environment. Small business expert Gene Marks notes the following:

“As far as challenges for a business owner, it’s about getting your house in order. Making sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your costs under control. Make sure everything is running as well as it possibly could because the next election is going to have a serious impact on the economy. You’ve got a brand new President coming in, who may or may not have support of congress, and will want to do some new things, like all presidents do in their first term. All of these things could very well affect your business and affect the economy.”

Marks continued: “You want to make sure that you’re in the best position possible financially to navigate your way and absorb any impact on your business or your industry which might come, depending on who’s in office in Washington.”

Bill Ferguson

Bill Ferguson, a New Jersey-based communications professional with over 20 years of corporate communications and integrated marketing experience.