Wash­ing­ton is cre­at­ing un­prece­dented un­cer­tainty. How should you re­act?

Wash­ing­ton is cre­at­ing un­prece­dented un­cer­tainty. How should you re­act?

Inc. (USA) - - DEPARTMENTS - He­laine Olen

YOU AL­READY KNOW that be­ing an en­tre­pre­neur means be­ing nim­ble, al­ways think­ing one step ahead even while you en­sure that your busi­ness pros­pers right now. But for many, do­ing busi­ness un­der the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is push­ing this balancing act to ex­tremes.

Thanks to the pres­i­dent’s flurry of ex­ec­u­tive or­ders and record-break­ing use of the Con­gres­sional Re­view Act, which per­mits the re­peal of new fed­eral reg­u­la­tions, the rules gov­ern­ing health in­sur­ance, im­mi­gra­tion, taxes, trade, and other policy is­sues are up for grabs. But what will hap­pen to all of th­ese rules re­mains un­clear, as we saw with the aborted at­tempt to re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act. This makes it very dif­fi­cult to pre­dict how pos­si­ble changes could af­fect your bot­tom line.

Some en­trepreneurs wel­come the un­cer­tainty, sure that the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­lax reg­u­la­tions will ul­ti­mately ben­e­fit them. “Abid­ing by in­con­stant fed­eral rules has been time-con­sum­ing and costly,” says Charles Markman, co-founder of Gal­axy Me­dia, in Co­ral Springs, Florida.

But oth­ers say the im­pact of all the dis­cussed changes is caus­ing them the en­tre­pre­neur­ial equiv­a­lent of angina. Take im­mi­gra­tion. Trump’s ef­forts to more strin­gently en­force ex­ist­ing im­mi­gra­tion laws and his changes to the H-1B visa pro­gram, which per­mits com­pa­nies to bring in work­ers from abroad if they say they can­not find Amer­i­can em­ploy­ees for the po­si­tions, al­ready ap­pear to be prompt­ing many skilled im­mi­grants and for­eign-born en­trepreneurs to give the United States a pass. And that’s damp­en­ing the fi­nances of many busi­ness own­ers. “Our bread and but­ter, wealthy Brazil­ians look­ing to move to the USA through in­vest­ment, has de­creased in­ter­est” since the elec­tion, says Re­nata Cas­tro, a lawyer with the im­mi­gra­tion-fo­cused Cas­tro Le­gal Group, in Pom­pano Beach, Florida. “We’ve had to hold back on hir­ing and ex­pand­ing un­til we can as­cer­tain the medi­umterm im­pact of cur­rent de­ci­sions.”

SRVR, a small telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany that has been de­pen­dent on in­ter­na­tional calls for most of its rev­enue, is also brac­ing for po­ten­tial fall­out. “If there are no new im­mi­grants in the coun­try, they won’t be call­ing home,” says Dana Todd, SRVR’s chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer.

That’s not the only busi­ness is­sue the Troy, Michi­gan, firm is un­ex­pect­edly nav­i­gat­ing thanks to the sud­den changes in the reg­u­la­tory winds. The ad­min­is­tra­tion’s plans to re­voke Obama- era rules on net neu­tral­ity could have an out­size im­pact on niche telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions providers like SRVR. If the main tele­com car­ri­ers are al­lowed to pri­or­i­tize their ser­vices over those of other providers on their net­works, or to charge higher rates for cer­tain ser­vices, out­side com­peti­tors like SRVR could see their of­fer­ings in­ter­rupted or blocked. “If the providers of data ser­vices are al­lowed to treat cer­tain types of con­tent as pre­mium, and re­strict or block it or charge more for it, that could im­pact us,” Todd says.

Yet small-busi­ness own­ers also know that, af­ter all, you need to roll with the punches. In that spirit, SRVR is piv­ot­ing on a new app, Quick­Call. The com­pany, which de­vel­oped the prod­uct for use by im­mi­grants and refugee or­ga­ni­za­tions, is chang­ing it to meet the needs of big cor­po­ra­tions, in­clud­ing fi­nan­cial ser­vices firms, and gov­ern­ment clients. “We aren’t putting all our eggs in one bas­ket,” Todd says.

That sounds like good busi­ness, no mat­ter who is liv­ing in the White House.

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