When you study business, you learn all about internal and external environments and how they impact your business.
The internal environment consists of things like business culture, customers, products and services. The external environment represents how things beyond your control, such as the economy, sociocultural issues, political issues and legal issues, affect your organization. The longer you’re away from school, the easier it is to forget about these factors when business planning.
Some of these things, however, are of great importance; they deserve more attention than they are given. This may become even truer every four to eight years when our nation selects a new president (especially when there is a major party change and the new platform is distinctly different).
I won’t bore you with the details of the legislation that NSCA keeps its eyes on, but the list is lengthy. External factors, specifically political and legal, are forces that can have major implications in how you run your business. For example, these laws can impact lending, labor, tax and employee benefits.
When you look at just how important those things can be for recruiting talent, offering competitive wages, providing sound benefits, and even managing business expenses for profit and loss, we shouldn’t depend entirely on our accountants and lawyers to keep us informed. As business owners and executives, it’s on us to stay up to date, especially when it comes to some of the highest-impact changes that affect our day-to-day business environments. That’s why NSCA makes it a priority to track this legislation and alert members to possible changes.
One of the big challenges for integrators has always been prevailing wage. When you can’t compete on labor costs, you often find yourself in a tough situation. I believe that the pro-business climate of the current administration will lead them to look closely at labor laws and potentially reverse the requirements for bidding on many privately funded and state projects using federal prevailing wage laws. This opens up the competitive landscape in many states, which may be good or bad for your business.
Another major area to pay attention to is the potential repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Over the past several years, companies have spent lots of time and money making sure they follow ACA laws; however, almost as quickly as it became enforceable, the ACA may be making its way out the door (although the future is once again in doubt given the recent failure of the American Health Care Act). Any major changes in health care legislation will mean a reshuffle for your HR department and, potentially, a list of new compliance requirements for onboarding and offering benefits to employees.
We’ve been following some of the biggest potential changes taking place right now so we can keep our members up to date on legislation that will impact them. Regardless of how you gather your information, I can’t overemphasize how important it is for integrators to keep their eyes on the changes taking place beyond the walls of their organizations. Whether it’s paying attention to how new budgets will move money from education to defense, or watching how new tax laws may incentivize hiring or flatten out the tax code, these changes will impact the top and bottom lines of your business.
It’s basic stuff, but sometimes we get too busy to focus on it. Remember all those times in school when you said to yourself, “I don’t know when I’ll ever use this information?” Your business course instructors were trying to teach you something about paying attention to the external environment.
I hope you take the time to read up on the legislative changes taking place, and determine how to best prepare your business to deal with the challenges or opportunities that these changes will bring. These are just a few of the items that could be changing. Can you see how impactful they may be?
To learn more about the legislation that NSCA is currently monitoring, visit www.nsca.org/2017-nsca-legislative-agenda.