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Posts Tagged ‘small business outlook’

Your Small Business And Technology: How Do You Maintain A Competitive Edge?

By John Joyce on January 5, 2011 - Comments 0

The Small BizNest Reviews New Book, The New SmallThis is really the prelude to a book review that is forthcoming but I wanted to start the conversation about challenges facing small business owners when determining which technologies will have a positive impact on their overall business growth. The prevalence of open source development platforms has become a double-edged sword. The good news: Anyone can develop applications fairly easily. The bad news: Anyone can develop applications fairly easily.

There are so many choices that it’s impossible to keep abreast of new technology, new versions of existing products and new companies popping up in already crowded markets. The alternative, however, is to stick your head in the sand and be left in the dust by your competitors.

Phil Simon has written a book that offers real world examples of small businesses that are enjoying success by harnessing the power of emerging technologies. Please look out for a full review in the coming weeks and be sure to check out the book yourself.

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Is The Outlook For Small Business Awfully Good Or Just Plain Awful?

By John Joyce on April 13, 2010 - Comments 0

Good morning/afternoon, my name is John/Jeff and I would like to empower/scare you with some scientific research data that illustrates how great/terrible the outlook is for small business owners.

Yesterday, the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), SCORE, and the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), along with Constant Contact, released survey results stating that Seventy-nine percent of small businesses revealed a confident to neutral outlook for the U.S. economy over the next 12 months.

Key findings from this survey of nearly 7,000 small business respondents are as follows:

– Small businesses anticipate growth in 2010

– Small businesses are doing more with less

– Small businesses look for new efficiencies as costs increase

– Small businesses question government support

However, this morning, the National Federation of Independent Business monthly business index stated, “U.S. small business owners have little confidence in the economy and are in no rush to hire or expand, despite signs the recovery is picking up”.  The interpretation of this number is extremely negative and points to a lack of confidence in the economy but, more importantly, a realization that Congress and the Obama administration have offered nothing to help small businesses grow during these difficult times.

So, what does this mean?  Are things good or are they bad?  I’ve begun to just chuckle at this type of seemingly impossible conflict of data collected from the same overall pool.  I’m sure both are scientifically sound but to have such disparity in results is confounding for business owners.  Should we double-up or start building the fallout shelter?

Maybe we should just stop reading the news.  Either way, the only thing that matters is your personal experience and, in many cases, what your instincts tell you.  We all have to be cautions in uncertain times but must also recognize when to take risk and build our own foundation for recovery and growth.

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U.S. Small Business Outlook 2010: Lessons Learned From Forbes Insight

By John Joyce on February 18, 2010 - Comments 2

Forbes Insight Small Busines Survey 2010

A Case For Optimism?

Forbes, in association with CIT, conducted one-on-one interviews with small business owners to better understand the lessons learned from the past 12-18 turbulent months.  Their findings, although not earth shattering, highlight a bit of a silver lining when you consider that most respondents have learned to work smarter and do more with less.

Unfortunately, nobody in Washington understands the needs of small business owners, therefore; they have been left to fend for themselves and figure out creative ways to survive and even thrive in a difficult economy.  If the legislators just listened to the needs of business owners, we could speed up the recovery process.

OK, I’ll get off my soap box and focus on the more interesting results of the survey:

  • Nearly seven out of ten (68%) disagreed that healthcare reform efforts would benefit their businesses
  • Nine out of ten small business owners agreed that current stimuli do not benefit small businesses
  • 62% will invest more in marketing; specifically, lead generation
  • More than 60% said they will run their business more aggressively in 2010
  • 50% will invest in growth or expansion
  • While 33% said they would likely reduce their hiring, 29% expected to hire more workers
  • 50% will hold on to their cash
  • Nearly 8 out of 10 respondents agreed – coming out of the recession, the old way of doing business won’t work; we need to find new ways to take advantage of market opportunities
  • 79% say their market segment is more competitive than ever
  • 46% will pursue new revenue streams

Small business owners are, by definition, risk takers and will always welcome a challenge.  The past 12-18 months have made business owners better leaders and more prudent decision makers.  However, the most telling quote from this study highlights the immense challenges ahead -  “this ordeal has taken its toll on how small business owners see the economy in general. Only about one-fifth of respondents (21%) believe that the financial crisis has already bottomed out, with 47% expecting this to occur in 2010. They predict the financial markets will turn around in 2010/2011, stability will return in 2011/2012, and growth won’t come back until 2012 or later.”

Don’t hold your breath waiting for our politicians to suddenly “get it”.  Simply take your lessons, apply them to the present and future, and continue to move the rock forward.

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