After just a few months in office, Trump’s presidency has brought controversy and uncertainty to the nation, and politicians in Washington D.C. For small business owners, regulatory changes could alter the business landscape for the foreseeable future.
Some changes have already started to take effect, such as Trump’s executive order on business regulations requiring federal agencies to cut two existing regulations for every new one. But without knowing what’s next for small businesses, it’s important to stay ahead of potential changes by focusing on tried-and-true business principles. Here are seven ways you can set your business up for success despite what is going on in Washington D.C.
1. Keep Your Finances Fit
Don’t wait for an emergency or tax season to commit to getting your business and even personal finances in order. Start by gathering, organizing and securely storing financial paperwork. After looking everything over, create a budget to reduce overhead costs, pay off loans and reduce existing debt to make sure your business is fiscally sound.
2. Hire Dreams and Retain Teams
One of the best ways to keep a well-oiled machine running smoothly is to hire and retain top talent. Losing an employee isn’t just disruptive to business functions, it could cost up to two times the employee’s annual salary to replace them.
That unexpected expense can severely damage a small business. To retain smart, motivated employees, business owners must create an environment that improves retention. Common measures include competitive compensation, ensuring the job is a good fit, offering career advancements and new opportunities, and cultivating a good work environment.
3. Avoid Costly Consequences by Complying
For small business owners, complying with laws and regulations can be costly. Trump’s recent “two in one out” executive order was aimed at lessening regulations, but laws and compliance still limit small businesses.
According to a National Small Business Association (NSBA) survey, the average small business owner spends $12,000 a year dealing with regulations. It’s even worse for first-year businesses, costing an average of $83,019. The most burdensome areas are federal tax codes and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Even as change happens on Capitol Hill, make sure your small business is complying with current regulations to avoid even more fees.
4. Assess Risk and Ensure Business Bliss
To provide protection and minimize potential risk, it’s important to secure business insurance. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), there are five tips owners should keep in mind when assessing which insurance plan is right for their small business.
The first step is assessing your risk and how high of a deductible you’re willing to take on. The price of premiums is determined by a number of risk factors, including your business location, building type, local fire protection services, and the amount of insurance you purchase. After risk is assessed, it’s time to shop around for a plan. A good place to start is with a reputable, licensed agent. Once an insurance plan is chosen, owners should look into a business owners’ policy and make sure to re-evaluate coverage on an annual basis.
5. Record and Document to Stay on Top of It
Not sure how well you’re doing at record keeping for your small business? Take this SBA training course and test your knowledge before and after. Keeping good records helps with regulation and legal requirements, but it can also come in handy for detail tracking, planning, legal compliance, and for federal, state and local tax preparation. Most importantly, record keeping helps prepare for the future and allows you to apply for a loan if you need more inventory, employees or equipment.
6. Prepare for and Project Potential Pitfalls
Making sure everything is in order puts your small business in lending shape if you need to apply for a business loan. Identifying potential capital needs ahead of time means you can quickly apply for a loan when the time comes; you’ll be able to more accurately predict how much capital you may need to avoid a potential financial crisis down the road. And more importantly, with ample time to shop, you can ensure you get the best loan and interest rates for your business.
7. Brace Your Business for Breaches
Few things can halt business quicker than a cyberattack. Increased reliance on the Internet and new vulnerabilities, such as ransomware, have caused cybercrime to soar. According to Juniper Research, the cost of data breaches is expected to reach $2.1 trillion globally by 2019.
If your business has an online marketplace or stores customer data, implementing cybersecurity measures to make sure you’re properly protected should be top of mind. According to TeleSign, 55 percent of consumers say they hold businesses primarily responsible for keeping their account safe. A data breach can result in unwanted headlines and permanently damage your businesses reputation.
Instead of worrying about how Washington D.C. will affect your business, concentrate on these seven tips to set your business up for success. By doing so, your business will avoid downtime and uncertainty, and you’ll be ahead of the pack when it is time to adapt to new regulations or changes.