You’ve seen the headlines—President Trump will be great for small business. He has explained his policy goals for his first 100 days and the reforms he has in mind will change the way your business operates. I have prepared a seven-point checklist of some of the major upcoming policy changes affecting small business owners. Here are the areas to watch closely so your business can stay one step ahead of the competition:
President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly stated updating our healthcare system is a top priority. Both small and large businesses can expect changes coming to their healthcare policies as a result. If you have 50 or more full-time employees, you must offer a healthcare plan. Make sure you keep open and frequent dialogue with your provider to stay on top of new regulations as they unfold.
2. Environmental Regulations
Depending on the industry you work in, you may feel burdened with restrictive regulations. The next administration plans to reduce or remove some burdens on industries, including environmental regulations. Trump recently stated he intends to withdraw the United States from the International Climate Change agreement, so if you work in a field affected by this agreement your daily operations may soon change.
One of the cornerstones of Trump’s administration is advocating for lower income taxes for all companies. His plan is to reduce the income tax burden from 35% to 15%, a benefit which would be extended to individual company owners who realize taxes as high as 39.6%. Trump isn’t the only voice speaking on behalf of business owners; even the National Federation of Independent Business Owners believes there should be greater tax cuts. Reforms may reach even further to help Sole Proprietors and LLCs. While this is bright news, it is important to keep in mind that tax reforms must also pass through Congress.
If your business is involved in any volume of overseas trade, you can expect some adjustments in the near future. Trump’s victory likely means that existing trade deals will be rewritten and the TPP will come to an abrupt end. Many groups are weighing in to evaluate existing trade deals like NAFTA. The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council believes NAFTA is beneficial to small businesses because the free trade opportunities it creates reduces expenses and increases opportunities for business exposure. President Trump will likely consider a variety of different opinions and ultimately keep good trade deals and replace others.
5. Federal Contracts
There is bipartisan support backing legislation making it easier for business owners to win federal contracts. Even though political fighting stalls this legislation from passing immediately, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council is advocating for both parties to work together to pass the bill. There are other advocates like Jane Campbell, President of the political action group Women Impacting Public Policy, who are fighting to make it easier for female small business owners to get contracts. It looks like we can expect a much more active conversation and greater representation for small business owners during this administration.
6. Minimum Wage
CNBC recently polled business owners to reveal their top priorities for the next administration. Poll-takers listed access to capital, hiring and religious freedom as the top three issues they would like addressed. Pay close attention to changes Trump mentions regarding the minimum wage, as he may not move forward with the Overtime Rule and other Obama administration rules.
7. Banking Regulations
Dodd Frank stymied growth within the finance sector, making banks hesitant to lend. This may be a big reason why access to capital is ranked as a business owner’s number one concern in the CNBC poll. This hesitation will soon ease up as interest rates rise—a change we can expect as early as December. Lending institutions will then have a greater incentive to loosen their purse strings and stimulate American businesses.
The best thing you can do as a small business owner is remain proactive and attentive as the next administration begins to implement new rules. Read the news, check your sources and keep an open dialogue with your trusted advisors so you know how to adjust your operations. Remember: change isn’t always a bad thing!