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Entrepreneurship and Economic Development

The biggest issue for small businesses is managing cash flow; it’s the oxygen to the business,” Richardson said. “When something threatens cash flow, [entrepreneurs] stop spending. Any sort of regulation or tax or tariff that looks like it’s going to add a cost, no matter what business you run, slows you. You spend less, you conserve, you watch and wait, you hold on to your cash.”

Due to the nature of the specific tariffs, small businesses looking to expand or build new locations should consider doing so now before lumber and steel tariffs impact prices significantly. Or rather than build, consider looking for existing real estate. Need new office furniture, like desks? It might be the time to buy them now before lumber prices drive up costs.

If the proposed tariffs on Chinese goods go through, tech prices for smartphones, laptops, TVs and other electronics could increase, so any new electronic equipment should be purchased soon. Or consider purchasing refurbished or used devices.

If you’re in the market for these goods, consider financing their purchase to avoid the impact of future tariffs. Not only will tariffs increase the prices of affected goods in the long run, but the Federal Reserve is likely to continue raising interest rates, meaning it is cheaper to borrow money now than it likely will be down the line. [Looking for financing but not sure where to start? Here’s a look at some of the best business financing options out there.]

Of course, some small businesses might benefit from the tariffs, if they sell goods that previously competed with imported goods from the targeted countries. For example, the price of American steel has already gone up yet remains the more competitive option considering the tariffs placed on foreign steel.