There are 12 people making decisions that will affect the profits and growth of many small businesses over the next year. Keep a close eye on them.
Jerome Powell — Federal Reserve Chairman
(Special Award: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen)
As I write this, the national prime rate averages about 8.5%, and many small business owners like myself are refinancing loans that are coming due for working capital, real estate, and equipment. I'm in the middle of it. But remember, Prime is for the best customers. For most small businesses, the interest rates charged by banks are several points higher than prime, which has a significant impact not only on their ability to repay new debt, but also on their ability to raise capital for business growth. It will be. Lowering interest rates by the Federal Reserve would help alleviate that problem. A new Federal Reserve decision, known as the Basel III framework, could also have a major impact on how banks lend to small businesses.
Danny Werfel — Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service
(Honorable Mention: Janet Yellen)
As the IRS, part of the Treasury Department and under Secretary Janet Yellen, begins spending the $80 billion windfall from President Biden's anti-inflation law, my clients, especially “wealthy” business owners, The parties are already bracing for further audits and legal action. There has been an increased level of oversight over business structures.
Jason Smith (R-Missouri) — Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee
(Honorable Mention: House Speaker Michael Johnson (R-Louisiana) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (New York))
Provisions of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that affect small businesses have already begun to expire, and more provisions will end after 2025, most importantly the Qualified Business Income Tax Credit. Through entities such as S corporations and partnerships. There are growing calls for “tax cutters” to further delay these expirations, and this issue is expected to become a priority over the next 12 to 24 months.
Michael Johnson (R-Louisiana) — Speaker of the House
(Honorable Mention: Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (New York)
A government shutdown is looming in January, and it's in the hands of House Republicans. If no deal is reached and the shutdown lasts for more than a few weeks, countless small businesses will be at risk, from delicatessen owners who provide lunch to government workers to businesses with government contracts to business travelers seeking passports. will be affected.
Julie Su — Acting Secretary of Labor
(Honorable Mention: Lauren McFerran, Chair of the National Labor Relations Board)
Although not approved by the Senate, Hsu will oversee (and champion) new rules governing overtime pay and worker classification this year. Although these regulations will certainly be challenged by corporate groups, they will increase our compensation costs and make it more difficult for us to use independent contractors in our operations. The NLRB's recently issued updated joint employer rules will also impact many small businesses in the franchise and construction industries.
Charlotte A. Burroughs — Chair, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(Honorable Mention: Doug Parker, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, Michael Regan, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency)
The EEOC will remain active in 2024. And updated rules governing harassment, expected to go into effect early this year, will further arm the EEOC to go after employers of all sizes and employees who report them. It is alleged that it creates an unsafe or dangerous workplace for workers. OSHA and EPA both have very aggressive plans for 2024, which could result in additional regulations and costs for small businesses.
Isabella Guzman — Commissioner of the Small Business Administration
(Honorable Mention: SCORE CEO Bridget Weston, SBA Deputy Administrator Bruce Purdy, Small Business Development Center)
A tireless promoter of small business, Isabella Guzman can be seen mostly on the go, but she's one of the best SBA administrators in recent memory. Her agency relies on 7(a), 504 and other loan programs (particularly programs that provide direct funding to small businesses in federally declared disaster areas) for funding and assistance to assist small businesses. It will continue to be an important resource for the companies that provide it. Companies deal with federal bureaucrats.
Suzanne P. Clark — CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
(Honorable Mention: National Federation of Independent Business President Brad Close, National Association of Realtors Interim CEO Nikia Wright)
These are organizations that represent the interests of millions of businesses, and we rely on their support to combat the increasingly stringent regulatory challenges plaguing small businesses at both the federal and state levels. can do. From fee income to housing issues, the challenges facing real estate agents in this country will directly and indirectly impact countless small businesses throughout the year.
Satya Nadella — Microsoft CEO
(Honorable Mention: Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google; Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce; Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI)
As artificial intelligence tools begin to become more prevalent in 2024, many of the mainstream business applications used by my company and my customers, from office collaboration to accounting to customer relationship management, will become mainstream for at least a year. It will change the way we do business in a very positive way. Companies that are leveraging this new technology and seeing it as a tool to improve productivity and efficiency.
Sundar Pichai – Google CEO
Online search and advertising is essential for many small businesses, and its monopoly is held by Google (which also owns YouTube). A few tweaks to search parameters on Google and YouTube can make a big difference for companies that make a living from online advertising. In 2024, Google will begin changing how it downloads “cookies” to track your browsing habits. This can cause further confusion and challenges.
Andy Jassy — Amazon CEO
(Honorable Mention: Etsy CEO Josh Silverman, Facebook Commerce Business Vice President Benji Shomair, Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke)
Most small businesses, especially retailers, have recognized the benefits of opening online channels to sell their products, and Amazon remains the number one destination to find customers around the world. But Amazon isn't the only game in town. Etsy has proven to be of great benefit in providing additional side hustle income for artisans and creators, and e-commerce platforms like Shopify have helped small businesses gain access to both within and large markets. It has become easier to become independent and set up your own store.
Ryan Roslansky — LinkedIn CEO
(Honorable Mention: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Company X CEO Elon Musk)
Social media platforms continue to be an important place for small businesses to engage with their communities and market their products. While LinkedIn remains the primary business site, both Facebook and Twitter will continue to grow membership for small businesses by providing opportunities to sell products and build communities.
You may be wondering why we haven't covered President Biden or his presidential challengers. That's because 2024 is an election year, and aside from foreign policy decisions, these people don't expect any major changes that will affect businesses to occur during the election campaign. But whoever wins the White House in November will undoubtedly make a difference. So let's worry about that in a year, okay?
Gene Marks is the founder of The Marks Group, a small business consulting firm. He frequently appears on his CNBC, Fox Business, and MSNBC.
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