"When the markets are volatile my business does better," says Fox. When the stock market is unstable, people gravitate toward DittoTrade.com because it allows them to see what stocks major traders are buying, he says. Fox expects the stock market to remain volatile for the next several months.
NICK BALLETTA, TALKPOINT
For the first time since starting his business 19 years ago, Nick Balletta is deciding how it will deal with ballooning health insurance costs. He may stop providing it.
"We've never thought about cutting it before," says Balletta.
TalkPoint, a New York-based firm that runs online broadcasts of meetings for businesses, has 100 employees. It has been spending about $10,000 a year on health insurance for each worker.
But the company's health insurance provider says it is increasing costs to about $12,000 next year. TalkPoint will provide health insurance in 2013, Balletta says, but isn't sure beyond that.
He blames the rise on President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Balletta says it will be cheaper to not provide health insurance and pay the penalties that the new health care law requires for companies that don't provide health insurance.
Besides the Obama health care plan, rising taxes also led Balletta to vote for Mitt Romney.
"The more money we send to Washington, the less money we have to hire people with," says Balletta.
MICHAEL DEBENHAM, LIBERTY TAX SERVICE AND AMERICAN TITLE LOANS
After Obama's win, Michael Debenham is still uncertain about the future.
He isn't sure how Obama's health care plan will work and doesn't know how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created under Obama and aims to protect people from hidden fees and other unfair practices by financial companies, will regulate his businesses.
"When you're trying to make a business deal or buy something, it's hard to know what is coming up in the next couple of years for sure," says Debenham.
He runs three Liberty Tax Service franchises in Alaska. He also runs four American Title Loans stores in Utah. That company provides short-term loans using a car as collateral.
The tax company may get some business related to the implementation of the health care law, Debenham says, but he isn't clear on how that will work. As for the loan business, the CFPB hasn't publicized any plans to regulate the industry.
"We're happy to follow the rules, but we don't know what they are," says Debenham.
Despite the uncertainty, he remains hopeful.
"We've survived through the slow times," he says, "and we're optimistic we'll have good times coming up."
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