How Will a Potential Government Shutdown Affect Small Businesses?

Many Americans are likely keeping close tabs on whether the U.S. Congress will move forward with a plan to shut down the government if significant changes are not made to the Affordable Care Act, as such a decision would likely have a major impact on their finances. One group that may likewise be affected by the move, across the country, is small business owners and their companies.

A government shutdown could cause a massive sea change in consumer sentiment and finances, and that in turn could mean some potentially troubling conditions for small businesses nationwide, according to a report from Fox Business. Interestingly, though, a poll from Pepperdine University found that nearly half of owners of companies of any size say that they'd be in favor of a shutdown of at least one day (30 percent want the shutdown to last just that one day only) while 42 percent say this would not be a good idea.

"The fact that nearly half of business owners are willing to wait out a government shutdown suggests that businesses are highly dissatisfied with the circumstances in Washington," said Craig Everett, director of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project at the Graziadio School of Business and Management. "Clearly, many business owners desire the stability of a more permanent resolution to the nation's recurring fiscal problems."

If the shutdown were to last that one day, 80 percent of businesses say it would have no impact on their bottom lines, but weeks or even months of a shutdown could create some pains, especially for smaller businesses, the report said. Close to one in four said that they would feel negative effects after just two weeks, and slightly more said that a stop last {of} a month or more would impact hiring plans. Another 14 percent said it would lead them to lay off employees. After six months of a shutdown, that number balloons to two in five companies having to shed some of their workers.

Owners looking to shore up their finances just in case such a decision comes from Washington, D.C., may want to consider finding more affordable small business insurance as soon as possible. Cutting costs for workers' compensation or general liability insurance can go a long way toward improving a company's bottom lines by making it more streamlined and saving it a potentially substantial sum every month.