This material originally appeared as one of Jim’s Daily Herald columns


Whether Donald Trump is the savior his supporters voted for or the devil who will ruin the nation doesn’t matter, at least for our discussion this morning.  What matters, suggest small business advisors I’ve talked with, is that we remain calm while guiding our businesses.

After all, it’s still more than a month before inauguration.

“Don’t change what you’re doing,” says veteran consultant Alan Winter, CEO, Alan Winter Group Ltd., Northbrook.  “If you have a good, solid business plan – stay with it.

“We’ve been in periods of uncertainty before.  Stay flexible.  Remember that a well-tuned organization can make intelligent decisions very quickly.  The world isn’t coming to an end.”

Winter’s basic stay-calm-but-be-alert advice is similar to the “don’t overreact” advice from CPA Tony Battaglia.  “Let’s wait and see whether (President-elect Trump) can do all the things he’s said,” says Battaglia.  He is director of managed accounting services at BIK LLP, Palatine.

Clearly, Trump is not the typical, mostly quiet leader we are accustomed to seeing, but another small business advisor thinks that may not be so important.  “It seldom matters who is president,” says Leif Jensen.  “It is Congress we have to worry about for any changes.

“I don’t think (the new) Congress will really do as much as they think they will.  The Democrats didn’t do all they wanted (in a similar situation) in 2008.”

Jensen, president of Leif Jensen & Associates, an Elk Grove Village CPA firm, adds, “I am advising clients to do what we always do:  Plan for the way the law reads now.  Once it is changed, we plan for the changes.”

There certainly are important dollar-related small business issues:  Taxes, of course; the Department of Labor’s overtime plan; and Obamacare.

Healthcare has been a contentious issue since the Affordable Care Act was passed in March 2010, but survey data published earlier this month by the respected Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Menlo Park CA, indicated some potential softening.  According to the survey, slightly more than half of Republicans (52 percent) want Obamacare repealed, but, interestingly, that’s down from 69 percent of Republicans who wanted repeal in October.

Regardless, the political noise seems likely to get mostly louder.

“Do a gut check,” Winter advises.  “Is your business really where you want it to be?  Is your organization flexible enough?”

Winter suggests using the next weeks to “get back in touch with your top customers.  Talk about what you’re doing.  Ask how you can help them grow their businesses.

“Talk to your suppliers, too – and treat them like human beings.  Don’t just brow beat them about price and delivery.  See how you can work together.”

Talk to competitors as well, Winter adds.  Although you should be wary of anti-trust issues, especially if the conversation turns to pricing, Winter says that “Everybody is facing the same issues.  Talk to them” and perhaps open communication lines.


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