"I don't think anything's going to change," says Peter Cohan, a lecturer in entrepreneurial strategy at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass.
But Obama has made a point of proposing tax cuts that will benefit many small companies. He's calling for the corporate tax rate to drop to 28 percent from its current 35 percent. Manufacturers would pay no more than 25 percent. He's also backing more liberal tax deductions for small businesses that invest in new equipment.
"Congress will be more willing to work with the president on these small business-targeted tax policies," Arensmeyer says.
Recent history shows that Arensmeyer may be right. Earlier this year, there was bipartisan support in Congress for the Jumpstart Our Small Business Startups Act. It was designed to help small companies get financing more easily.Obama's re-election means the health care overhaul will continue to be implemented, but small businesses still have to wait to find out how much it will eat into their profits.
Key provisions of the law go into effect in 2014, including the requirement that businesses with 50 or more employees provide affordable health insurance for their workers. What employers don't know yet is how much that insurance will cost. That won't be determined until states set up exchanges where individuals and companies can buy coverage.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney promised to make changes to the law. Now that the overhaul has survived the re-election of Obama and a fight that advanced earlier this year to the U.S. Supreme Court, another big legal challenge is unlikely, says Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.Obama may not be able to do much to get the economy growing much faster than it is now.
"I think both candidates were way overselling what they can do to create jobs and help the economy," says David Primo, an associate professor of political science and business administration at the University of Rochester in New York.
The federal deficit is part of the problem. Obama has to curtail spending – but federal government spending is equal to nearly a quarter of income produced by U.S. citizens. Cut government spending, including federal contracts, and small businesses lose revenue and may cut jobs. Many have put hiring plans on hold because of uncertainty about what's known as the fiscal cliff – the