When November 3rd comes around, business owners will be voting for the future of their companies. Owners of small chains are in a particularly precarious position as they lack the financial comfort of their larger counterparts. The federal government has always faced questions over favoritism towards large corporations and this year is unlikely to be any different. The Presidential Election features two candidates with White House experience.

Outside party lines, business owners typically vote depending on how their business is currently performing. Someone who is happy with the current state of the economy and current government regulations is more likely to vote for an incumbent and someone who is displeased would be likely to vote for a challenger. Of course, that would be the typical chain of thought in an average election year and 2020 is anything but. For owners of small chains, the year has been filled with challenges and the recovery process is still a long road. The stimulus plans laid out by the government left many gaps and now they must look to the future for answers.

Voters can look at President Trump’s first three years in office to get an idea of what his economic plan will look like in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic essentially served as a factory reset on the economy and undid some of the trending the President may have built up. On the other hand, Joe Biden has started to roll out his economic outlook plan and there are some key categories for owners of small chains to look out for. The higher taxes outlined by Joe Biden are mostly aimed at larger corporations, but there are certainly some smaller businesses that will be impacted as well. President Trump is looking to continue his tax cuts over the last few years; a decision will likely stem from each individuals level of content with current taxes.

Another major point of contention for the economy will be how we reopen from the COVID-19 shutdown. When the pandemic struck in March there was a disconnect over whether America should close down to slow the spread or stay open to save the economy. Many, especially small business owners, feel that we didn’t accomplish either goal and the virus spread while the economy crashed. We all know that COVID-19 will still be around in 2021 and both candidates have differing opinions on how to handle a resurgence. President Trump is unlikely to return to a shut down like we saw earlier this year and seems in favor of fully reopening. Joe Biden is also reluctant to back a full shutdown, but his reopening measures seem less lax than President Trump’s. A national mask mandate touted by Biden is unlikely to hurt small chains as many have already instituted this to protect their communities, but restrictions on gatherings and capacity limits could prove a non-starter for some. It was only recently that New York allowed their restaurants to resume dine-in services and Florida just reopened bars at a limited capacity. Many of these businesses are small chains and while the return to some normalcy is nice, it could be too late for some.

Both candidates will have to demonstrate that they can protect public health without shutting out the small business chains that are often the lifeblood of communities. They will also have to deal with a government deficit that has only ballooned with the pandemic and offer tax plans that help rebuild our economy. 2021 will be a tight rope walk with long fall for those who are unprepared. The economies of small business chains are delicate and they cannot be forgotten about by policy makers. The struggles created by COVID-19 have gone a long way towards shedding light on the importance of all the cogs in our American economic machine.