I know... I know... Politics is on that "do not discuss" list, but Friday's inauguration is going to impact all of us in one way or another. It doesn't matter whether you are Republican, Democrat, Green, or Independent, if you are stepping into the ring — Your Business VS Uncle Sam — you'll need to know what a Republican President and Congress will mean for your small business after Friday's big events are over.
For at least the past 20 years, I have believed our government needs to be run more like a business, and specifically, a small business. Why? Because small business owners don't have the luxury of a seemingly endless budget, or any leeway in the tax laws, or the ability to quickly recover from ill-advised mistakes or miscalculations. While we all work hard to plan for the future, small business owners live in the here and now. A five-year-plan is awesome, but sometimes it's hard enough to just plan for next week!
Small business owners are politically split, but they do tend to lean toward the Republican side. A 2014 survey by the National Small Business Association found that 39 percent of small-business owners affiliate more closely with the Republican Party and 22 percent with the Democratic Party, while 29 percent consider themselves independents. (Relatively small numbers side with the Tea Party or Libertarian Party.) However, 82 percent of those surveyed said they don’t vote straight party lines. In fact, most small business owners are very political, with a whopping 95 percent saying they vote regularly in national and local elections, and 62 percent having donated to a candidate.
No one can say for sure what the new Trump presidency will mean for your particular business, especially when you factor in that Donald Trump is about as far from "small" business as he can get. But it's been a while since the United States has had a Republican president and Republican majority in Congress, so I went digging to see what this could mean for small business owners.
The Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” has been touted as a success by the Democrats and has been the target of harsh criticism by Republicans. While Republicans are preparing for an immediate repeal of the program, it is more likely they will rename the program and modify the legislation to ease the mandates on small businesses. Even many owners of businesses that are too small to be affected by the mandate will cheer modifications that can clear the path for future growth.
Minimum wage earned a lot of coverage during the debates and stump speeches. It was a popular topic, but was generally divided along party lines, with Democrats typically in favor of raising the minimum wage and Republicans opposed to it. Trump, himself, publicly opposed a wage increase, but then back-tracked to say he would consider a moderate increase. For small business owners, this is a double-edged sword. While most would prefer to be able to pay their employees more, every dime spent on day-to-day operations cuts into an already tight budget. Being mandated by the government to pay employees more could mean the difference between afloat and under water.