Something we’ve been hearing over and over recently from clients and potential clients alike goes something like this: “I’m going to wait until the election is over to see if I should start my business” or something similar. Some existing business owners have said similar things in regards to expanding their business, spending money on marketing or capital improvements, etc. Basically, they want to see what the political environment will be like before pulling the trigger on any big decisions.
While that seems like the prudent thing to do, let’s go over the reasons why that might not be the best strategy:
- Gridlock will be likely
- You’ll lose months of momentum and experimentation
- Your best competitors will not have such hesitations
1. Gridlock will be likely:
Hillary Clinton, should she win, will almost certainly be dealing with Republican majority in the House and maybe the Senate. Republicans only need one house to block any meaningful legislation. There’s also a lot of “bad blood” going around this election season so there’s yet another reason why the 2 parties are likely not to agree on much – in this case, gridlock of our government is a “feature, not a bug” so when American’s can’t agree, the government usually can’t either. Also, recent scandals (emails, Benghazi, etc.) may cause both parties to fight from day one.
Donald Trump, should he win, will also be dealing with a hostile congress, even if it is Republican majorities in both houses. He’s made many enemies in his own party, in particular, Paul Ryan who is the Speaker of the House. Trump getting much legislation through in this environment is unlikely. Also, the Democrats will be extremely angry at his tactics to secure the Presidency so they’ll likely be willing to block anything just to spite him.
2. You’ll lose months of momentum and experimentation
In the small business world, speed, momentum and being able to test your product, message, marketing and other things is critical. Speed is one of the main advantages of small business. If you wait around for months to even start a business or spend money on improving your business you’re likely to lose momentum to other competitors. Speaking of…
3. Your best competitors will not have such hesitations
Many have written about the vast fortunes that were created in recessions/depressions and challenging political environments. The lesson is that while their competitors were petrified to move or even downsizing, smart entrepreneurs were taking advantage of tough times to “buy low” (investments, property, etc.), expand their business, simplify and streamline their operations and keep moving forward. Recessions are usually a convenient excuse to not do anything.
Should I worry at all?
Sure, any political or economic environment is unpredictable by nature, but these worries are usually not justified for small businesses or startups. It’s large companies that have the most to lose. Small business is nimble, quick to adjust and ultimately much more suited to survive the worst. Focus on the positive, the opportunities that even bad environments can bring and you’re much more likely to thrive.