The Fight in Washington, D.C. and Its Impact on Small Businesses

As the politicians fought recently for what seemed like an eternity over raising the debt ceiling, the true impact was being felt nationwide by both small business owners and those who cannot find work.

Given that many Americans either cannot grasp or chose not to look at the trillions of dollars making up the federal debt, they likely felt that this was just more political wrangling taking place on both sides of the aisle. Well, it is much more than just defaulting on a debt.

For the small business man or woman who has been thinking about hiring, they’re less likely to do so today, especially with stocks on Wall Street sinking faster than the Titanic recently.

Wall Street and how it reacts to monetary and political issues goes hand-in-hand with how businesses react. If one is not doing well, the other tends to follow suit.

For the small business owner, recent times have not been advantageous to hiring more workers, given the increased costs in providing health care for them for starters. In turn, many Americans have halted efforts in both applying for first-time unemployment benefits and seeking jobs altogether.

According to data unveiled Aug. 4, the number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits dropped to 400,000, leading a number of economic analysts to raise doubts about just how strong a recovery there is in the labor markets.


Tips to Hiring

For the small business owner who may be thinking about hiring but is hesitant given the latest economic news coming out of Washington, D.C., there are some guidelines to follow.

Among them are:

  1. Determine your needs – While there may be some true needs at your small business, is there also the option of passing along some of this work to present employees? While you need to not overburden your current work staff, there may be areas where the extra work can be dispensed without putting your staff under tremendous pressure;
  2. Try a temp/freelance employee – Small businesses that hire temp workers are not only helping themselves, but also many individuals who are currently out of work. Most temp jobs do not come with health benefits, so you can save money there, pay a reasonable fee for the work required, and not be taking on a full-time salary and benefits down the road;
  3. Put the less important work on hold – If your small business has to, put some projects on hold until the economy improves and you can bring on more staff. Take a list of the projects that are pending and arrange them in order of importance, putting those of less importance on the backburner. Not only do you avoid adding more salaries to your staff, but you do a better job of bringing into focus what is most important at this time for your company;
  4. The customer comes first – At the end of the day, you need to do what is best for your customers. If you can get by with your current staff and still meet the customer’s needs, do it. If you’re going to need to bring on more staff to satisfy the requirements of your customers, do it. While you may be trying to hold the line on money going out, you need to be sure the train bringing money in doesn’t get derailed.


While the politicians will likely continue haggling over what they deem best for the country, the bottom line is that small businesses are a major player in driving the U.S. economy.

Take your responsibility as a small business owner and decide what is best for your customers and your business so you keep driving forward.

About the author

Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as human resources and running a small business.


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