As a particularly fraught presidential election draws closer, the sentiment among small business owners is surprisingly cool. At least that’s according to a recent poll, showing most small business owners are not changing hiring or wage growth practices. This week’s Trending on Thursday shows other results from that poll, along with advice for engaging users online, preparing for the future and tips for nailing a first impression.

See this week’s full #smallbiz news roundup below and tweet us at @MarlinBusiness with your tips for staying calm during the election.

  1. During a presidential election year, there’s always debate surrounding the question of whether or not the uncertainty of the election has an impact on job and wage growth. To answer these and other questions relevant to the upcoming election, Accounting Today reported on results of a recent survey of small business owners. Some of the key findings include: of companies with 20 to 99 employees, less than half said it’s affecting their decisions to add staff (42 percent) and increase wages (48 percent). The numbers declined further for companies with fewer than 19 employees, with only 14 percent claiming the election is impacting their hiring decisions and just 9 percent reporting it’s affecting their decision to increase wages.
  1. According to Time, I have 15 seconds to capture your attention before you decide to click away. In fact, a staggering 55 percent of you will spend less than 15 seconds on this page – or any web page, for that matter – before you continue browsing elsewhere. With 15 seconds being the average attention span of a modern internet consumer, perhaps the greatest challenge facing entrepreneurs and business owners today is creating a website that stands out. To help drive traffic and engage viewers, check out Jules Schroeder’s article on Forbes.
  1. Central Dubai's towers look like the city of the future, but it was weirdly only one street wide. Beyond this row of sharp and unique towers was literally desert or low suburbs.The future is the great unknown. It’s impossible to prepare for the various situations or circumstances that can potentially impact your business. However, given what we know about emerging digital, demographic and environmental changes, John Rampton at Entrepreneur put together some key strategies businesses must adopt if they want to remain both competitive and sustainable. They include “winning” at mobile, using more freelancers and preparing for an aging workforce.
  1. As a budding entrepreneur, first impressions with potential clients, financiers or venture capitalists are of the utmost importance. The number of progressive-minded professionals seeking out entrepreneurial careers continues to grow at a pace much faster than the pool of available resources. Entrepreneurs and small business owners should check out Rahis Saifi’s article on the Huffington Post to learn how to provide a presentable, confident and prepared innovative identity.
  1. If you’re building a business in a small town, you know how tough it can be: not only can it be difficult to find new customers within your geographic region, but you also lack the resources and connections you might find in New York or Silicon Valley. Building a powerful network of connections takes effort and patience, but it could make all the difference in whether your business flounders or reaches new audiences beyond your area. In a recent Inc. article, eight entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council offer their best advice for building a thriving business and making the most of your resources in a smaller community.