It's been about two years of really annoying ads and political commentary on TV, radio and the Web. The bad news is that we have three more months of it. If you're still enjoying the soap opera between Barack Obama and John McCain, give it a few days, and no matter who you want to win, you'll be going crazy.
Other than complain about the non-stop campaigning, what can you do for the next three months? I like to take this time to plan for the implications of the election on the next four years of my business life.
For many business owners, there are a few hot-button issues that will direct where their vote goes. But this exercise goes beyond just deciding whom you want to win. It's a good idea to look at both candidates and see their positions on the issues that matter to you and your business.
Some of the political issues that might affect your business are: taxes, health care, free trade agreements, immigration, energy policy, and Social Security. (This list varies for every industry and business, of course, but these are some of the big ones.) It's worth an hour or so of your time to evaluate how Obama or McCain's policies would change the way you do business. In some cases, there isn't much difference between the two. In others, you might realize that your vote needs to change in order to be correctly aligned with your interests.
For example, if your business would stand to gain from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, neither candidate will help you, since both of them oppose it. If your business has many minimum wage employees, you might support McCain because he favors keeping the wage where it is, while Obama wants to raise it. If your business would make money if universal health care was instituted, Obama could be your man, because McCain is against it.
Once you have a working plan of what you want from the next president, it's important to consider a plan of what you would do if either candidate were elected. You need to recognize that one candidate's victory might spell an end to your business as you know it. If that's the case, how would you handle it? What would you start doing now to protect yourself? If one candidate's victory would open a whole new avenue for you, how would you best profit from it next year? What could you start doing right now to sow the seeds of success come January 20?
By looking ahead and considering a plan of action, you can avoid being blindsided in November and either being forced into a bad business situation or missing a possible boom time for your company. Have you started yet?