Small business owners running the Main Street category of medical, legal, retail, and personal service operations have plans on how they’ll handle potential further increases in the minimum wage. That’s what a recent survey from Manta.com showed. The company that provides a variety of business resources found that about 78% of small business owners reported they’re already paying above the minimum wage in their state. Many of those surveyed have fewer than 10 employees.
The news coverage of unions demanding a $15 per hour federal minimum wage plus support from Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for a living wage has kept the issue visible. Small business owners are tuned in to the issues, says Manta CEO John Swanciger. The survey’s results showed that 59% of business owners favor the wage hike although the survey did not ask respondents to weigh the various minimum wage levels.
Entrepreneurs are also split on how they’ll handle minimum wage law changes. About 33% say they’ll reduce their number of employees while 39% will charge more for goods and services. The issue, though, isn’t a concern for another 28% of the survey’s respondents who say they won’t change the way they operate at all. Swanciger notes that these companies want to pay higher than the minimum so they can retain their employees which is less costly than hiring someone new.
As election season continues, so does uncertainty surrounding the minimum wage policy. The Democratic candidates views are quite different from those of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Cruz, quoted on the website Presidential candidates.org, has said, “raising the minimum wage would cost jobs for the most vulnerable.” Trump has favored a lower minimum wage to keep America “competitive” in the global economy. He’s also indicated he won’t make any cuts to where the wage stands.
Clarity exists in California and New York where a $15 minimum is being phased in. Health care and tax policies may also be affected by the presidential election. Small business owners have to function where many issues are beyond their direct control and Swanciger says they need to remain focused on their core strengths and the important details. “Brace for more change,” he says. “Do the little things well like tracking receipts and know your expenditures. These could swing in or out of your favor depending on what policies are enacted.”
So count on change. For the savvy business owner, they’ll develop their plans accordingly and take responsibility for what they can control. And for what’s beyond their control, they’ll try to stay ahead of the policy makers.