This is the first article in a series on "Entrepreneurship After the Election" that will be running on Inc.com this week.
On Wednesday morning, the day after the election, what did you do? After getting over your hangover, after either celebrating or crying, what was next? Did you sit and stare at your computer wondering what to post? Maybe you listened to speeches some which were congratulatory or some which were succeeding - or did you watch TV to see if the market was going up or down? Maybe you got excited because news stations might talk about news again.
If you are an entrepreneur, I have one guess of what you did-you worked your ass off. Entrepreneurs are like the U.S. postal office - rain or shine, barking dogs or hurricanes, you are still hitting it hard. While we were all caught up in the election, whether we liked it or not, you as an entrepreneur looked up - but then - back down to perfect your product, raise yet more money, figure out cash flow, or crank out the next marketing email.
So my dear entrepreneur, you will always get my vote. What makes this country awesome, is that it is, and forever will be built on the backs of entrepreneurs. I know in the election, you heard a lot about trade, taxes, special interests and minimum wage but guess what - you, my friends, are creating 71 percent of jobs in this country. Not politicians, not big corporations and certainly not the media.
Whether a Republican or a Democrat is President, Governor or County Supervisor, the best problem-solvers for our country are entrepreneurs. You are creating profitable solutions to solve some of our biggest problems and disrupting systems that desperately need innovation. I am totally convinced you will be the ones at the end of the day, solving climate change, improving our educations systems, and utilizing technology to save lives.
Whatever the rest of the world did the morning after the U.S. election, the world of entrepreneurs continue to jam! While folks were nursing hangovers, crying or celebrating, the Web Summit launched thousands of new products, a new Extended Visual Assistant was launched for a sustainable solution to help blind people see, Techonomy hosted the top disrupters, and Scoop announced another route with a compelling letter to riders to come together as a community.
In all seriousness, while you are heads down in your business, I want you to use this election as a reminder that you are the beating heart of America. You also have to advocate for yourself with our new leaders. That said, I have a few more things for you to do post-election:
1. Know your new leaders. In addition to President-elect Trump, ensure you know who your Congressperson and Senator are, based on where your business is located. After the transition occurs, try to meet their top aides and staff. You want a relationship with these folks before you have an issue to discuss. Additionally, if you are a fast-growth company, there will definitely be a hurdle at the local level at some point.
2. Use your collective voice on issues important to you. If you felt strongly either way about minimum wage, immigration, regulation, family leave, or have a new idea that could be executed through policy, tell someone. Try to get as many other business owners involved and send a joint letter to your leaders early in the transition cycle. Here is an example that women entrepreneurs sent to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton called #WhatWeNeedToSucceed.
3. Don't forget local. Most likely there were races for city council and county leadership in your area. While were all focused on the president, these races have everything to do with your physical business and employees. You will work with or against these folks for permitting your office, real estate decisions, roads, paying employees, transportation and recruiting. So, like your Congressperson, get to know them and ensure they know what is important for your business.
4. Continue to promote your values. Purpose-driven businesses are becoming the norm. Most of us are now looking at the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. There is certainly much confusion as data is starting to show that many of us are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. You probably did not find a party or a fit in this, but you can certainly play this out in the value and purpose of your company.
I'm voting for you, the entrepreneurs, to continue to make this country great. In the coming days, we will host a series here on Inc.com, talking to businesses leaders, policy makers, and entrepreneurs in order to get their take on how this election has and will continue to affect the business world and entrepreneur communities. We'll be hearing from Rep. Will Hurd, Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky.
Finally, I would love to hear your ideas, thoughts, fears and inspirations around the new administration and what it means for entrepreneurs. Feel free to reach out to me at @ElizabethGore, and tell me #WhatWeNeedToSucceed.