...running a business is nothing at all like making macro policy. The key point about macroeconomics is the pervasiveness of feedback loops due to the fact that workers are also consumers. No business sells a large fraction of its output to its own workers; even very small countries sell around two-thirds of their output to themselves, because that much is non-tradable services.
This makes a huge difference. A businessman can slash his workforce in half, produce about the same as before, and be considered a big success; an economy that does the same plunges into depression, and ends up not being able to sell its goods. Nothing in business experience prepares one for the paradox of thrift, or even the inflationary impact of increases in the money supply (which is real when the economy isn’t in a liquidity trap.)
And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that presidents need to work with Congress, and face far more limits on their authority than CEOs.
I have made a similar but different claim about local candidates like Eileen Brady for Portland mayor, that being a business person may give you lots of private market experience but does not tell you a lot about market failures (public goods, externalities, asymmetric information) that is the raison d'etre for most government agencies. This is not to say that Brady would not make an excellent mayor or that she doesn't have other experience that speaks more directly to the market failures I mention (in fact, she does).
My point is only that experience running a business is usually given a prima facie evidence of qualification for the job and I fail to see the obvious connection other than the keen eye on cost control. To me business experience should be mentioned after more direct qualifications for the job that can answer the important questions: Can you work well to build coalitions and consensus in an environment where your authority is limited? Are you good at understanding complicated public policy issues and finding the most efficient solution? Are you an effective public speaker and communicator who can clearly express a vision and rationale for your actions?
Less important to me is the answer to the question: are you a good sales person and profit maximizer?
And this is not to pick on Brady: the other two major candidates have had a chance to answer the more important questions and have not been very convincing in my humble opinion.
I have no agenda here by the way, I honestly have absolutely no idea for whom I will vote.