Since the election, the Dow Jones has been flirting with 20,000, apparently adrenalized by the prospect of corporate tax reform and gutted regulations now that Republicans control the House and Senate. Investors expect an economy unleashed from its typical restraints.

But what else might be unleashed?

If Donald Trump, soon to take the oath of office, has one policy it's this: Stay unpredictable.

To any list of disruptions that can pummel businesses -- technology, new competitors, globalization, financial crisis -- add the political unknown. The blows could be international (What's an American Brexit? An end to NAFTA) or a Twitter rant from @potus.

So what can certain industries expect? Certainly not business as usual.

Media

  • Trump's transition team for technology policy is led by people very skeptical of an active Federal Communications Commission and who don't see any threat of monopolies in mega-mergers in the arena of telecom.
  • Net neutrality policies--also called "open internet"--could also be on the chopping block. These rules require internet service providers to treat all data equally (and not throttle speeds at their whim).

Retail

Travel & Transportation

  • Cuba may no longer be a travel option if Trump reverses President Obama's rapprochement. Already some airlines and travel companies are scaling back, sensing that the momentum for dropping the travel embargo is lost.

  • Auto manufacturers may expect arm-twisting from Trump if they don't bring manufacturing jobs to the United States or even punitive tariffs on their goods and supply chains.

Healthcare

  • Chaos in this industry is already in motion. Republicans have not released a single, unified plan to replace Obamacare once they repeal it. Trump attacks drug makers at every opportunity. There could be sweeping changes to programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

  • Trump also keep promising something "better and cheaper" than Obamacare. But Tom Price, the onetime physician nominated to lead Health and Human Services, has historically supported doctors' lobbies -- which pretty much want to get paid top dollar with no push-back from insurers.

With Trump at the bully pulpit, or Twitter pulpit, individual businesses also could get caught in the cross-hairs. Trump has attacked dozens of businesses on Twitter. And his support can be just as harmful. Outdoor-wear company L.L. Bean has been caught in the political crossfire since a board member donated to a pro-Trump PAC, leading to a boycott by some customers, leading to Trump's "Buy L.L. Bean" tweet, which drew more attention to the boycott.

Business leaders need to be ready for America's volatile political climate to ooze into the business sphere at any moment.

Published on: Jan 13, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.