We’re well into the new year, and not far from wrapping up the first one hundred days of the new Administration in the White House. Many business owners are anxious, wondering what the business climate will be like in 2017, and if there are any actions they can take now to ensure their success and longevity this year and well into future. While no economist, politician, or accountant can predict the future business climate, there a few markers we can point to that give some certainty and confidence in our approach.
First, consider that many of the policies that have made our economy strong and in the growth position it is in are already in place and took time to establish. Like any massive ship in open water, it takes time to turn the ship and bring about a major impact to the ship’s current course. Look to the Brexit vote in Great Britain as an example of a major policy change brought about by a vote, and yet very little has changed as of yet to impact Great Britain’s economy or the state of business in that country. Much like Great Britain, here in South Carolina we are now under a new Administration both at the State and Federal levels. Yet, most business analysts and economic advisors will tell you very little will change in the near term with the exception of a possible impact on trade. Any business whose main line of work is manufacturing for export or heavily based in international trade has the potential to be impacted by the new Administration. However, that impact could take six months or more to be realized and the policies are not yet in place that could cause such change.
Many business owners have heard rumors that the Federal Reserve is going to reverse some of the stimulative actions it has taken to build up the economy. Yet, leadership at the Fed is not expected to change with the new Administration. Further, any stimulative policies that are expected to be reversed or rolled back will take time to implement so as not to drastically disturb the economic progress our state and nation have experienced in recent years.
The number and speed with which President Trump is signing Executive Orders since taking office has some business owners concerned, and rightfully so. However, upon taking office in his first term, Former President Obama signed 15 Executive Orders in the same time President Trump signed 14. The Executive Order most likely to impact small business and business owners is the one intended to reduce regulation and control regulatory costs. Intended to benefit business owners, the order states any new regulation introduced must be accompanied by the elimination (lawfully) of two existing regulations, and the balance of any new regulations introduced this year must be zero. While we still cannot predict exactly what this means for business owners, on the surface it appears to predict less regulation and costs associated with running a business, and a more business friendly climate.
Business owners, particularly in the State of South Carolina, can take comfort in the strength of our economy and our business friendly climate. We are excited for the growth, challenges, and success that await us in 2017.