Business basics trump political power

It was an interesting election year to say the least.

Since what candidates and their parties tell voters resembles reality about as much as what parents tell their children about the tooth fairy, the weariness of months of electioneering occasionally was interrupted by brief moments of entertainment. A couple of notable examples included the attack ad recounting how Americans living in a country wrecked by the Barack Obama administration now work for China. And there was a great video on the Internet about how the election of Mitt Romney would more likely precipitate a zombie apocalypse.

Of course, there were stark differences between the presidential candidates. And deciding who should fill local, state and national offices constitutes a serious endeavor reflective of the greatest of the freedoms citizens of this country enjoy.

The ramifications of the election on small businesses were a central theme this year, as it should have been. Don’t forget that small businesses employ nearly half the private-sector work force and account for almost two-thirds of new private-sector jobs. Still, the full ramifications of the election aren’t yet clear.

That’s why, for the moment, a broader perspective is needed. While elected officials and their policies certainly affect businesses, successful operations prevail despite what’s happening in Grand Junction, Denver or Washington, D.C. Business owners and managers who want their operations to be better off two or four years from now are far more likely to realize their aspirations as a result of their own efforts rather than who’s in the courthouse, statehouse or White House.

So how do owners and managers improve their operations? Those who haven’t done so already, should read the suggestions offered by five Grand Valley professionals on this website. Their advice varies along with their expertise in accounting, coaching, law, strategy and website development. But a lot of what they say has to do with good business fundamentals: budgeting, cash flow management, entity creation, developing and testing new products and services, taking advantage of technological advances and fostering productive work forces and workplaces.

Marc Terrien, owner and president of the Thin Air Web custom website and marketing firm, aptly recommends that owners and managers “Washington-proof” their business models so that no matter which way the political winds blow, their businesses, staffs and families are protected from negative effects. The secret, Terrien says, is this: focus on providing quality products, services and experiences to customers while establishing great relationships with customers, staff and vendors.

It’s always a good time for business owners and managers to go back to basics and do what they do best. And that’s figuring out better and faster ways to meet the needs of their customers.