From Taxes to Technology: Business Owners Look Ahead to 2020

Capital One’s Small Business Growth Index found what’s top of mind for business owners coming in to 2020

All eyes will be focused on the U.S. presidential election in 2020, but small business owners in particular will be paying close attention to the candidates’ stances on taxes, tariffs, regulation, and other factors important to their success.

According to new research from the Capital One Small Business Growth Index, the majority of business owners believe the 2020 election will have an impact on their companies. Overall, 65% believe the election results will affect their businesses in some way. That number rises to 83% among business owners with more than 50 employees, 76% among millennial business owners, and 75% among minority business owners. 

Even as the election draws near, most business owners remain optimistic. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of business owners say business conditions are currently “good” or “excellent,” and 55% say they are not concerned about the possibility of a recession in the next year. Additionally, more than a third of small business owners believe their company’s financial position will be better over the next six months. 

"Policy and politics are major factors for us, because government decisions around healthcare coverage have a big impact,” said Dr. Eric Suan, owner of the Retina Care Center. “When new policies go into place, we have to adapt our business to ensure that we are playing by the rules."

Looking ahead to 2020, business owners are mainly worried about three issues: taxes, competition, and technology. These concerns are even more pressing than many other topics like managing cash flow, minimum wage increases, tariffs, hiring, raising capital, and immigration laws. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to inform yourself on potential modifications to business regulations, as well as prepare for changes in the economic climate before they occur.


Taxes are always top of mind for small business owners. In any election, candidates propose changes to the tax code that could potentially impact small businesses. That’s likely why 56% of survey respondents listed taxes as a top concern in the next 12 months. Minority business owners in particular are worried about how changes to the tax code might impact them, with 80% citing taxes as a top concern in the next year. As a business owner, the best way to prepare for unexpected changes to the tax code is to work closely with your accountant to stay informed of potential code changes. Reading up on the tax code may not be the most exciting part of running a business, but it’s essential for long-term success.


Figuring out how to stay ahead of the pack can be challenging, and changes to taxes, tariffs, or regulations after an election can have a major impact. The Small Business Growth Index found that 41% of business owners feel that keeping up with the competition is a main concern in the next 12 months. To beat the competition, small business owners should focus on offering the best product or service possible and supporting customers at every step, starting internally. According to Dr. Suan, "Our staff is fundamental to business success. Medical care is a client service business -- and I've found that if we have happy staff, we have happy patients." 


From cloud computing and mobile apps, to CRM and artificial intelligence, small business owners know they must keep up with the latest technologies, but many worry they aren’t doing enough. Some 39% of small business owners say technology is a top concern in the next 12 months. Busy entrepreneurs can feel overwhelmed by the myriad of technology solutions available and often lack an IT department to help them make sense of what’s right for their needs. You don’t need to deploy every technology, only those that will help your company improve sales and customer satisfaction.

Business owners know an election year can throw them some curveballs, yet they remain optimistic. By investigating tax laws, focusing on their customers, and implementing appropriate technologies, smart small business owners will be ready to weather the election no matter what the outcome. 

For more insights into how small business owners believe the 2020 election will impact them, please see Capital One's Small Business Growth Index.