Economic concerns impose on us with a dark cloud, and we’ve lived under the shadow of that cloud – both personally and professionally – for sometime now.  2012 has been a better year for small business owners than many expected – not a great year – but a good one. Owners have been smart to play their cards close to the vest and keep plans, growth, and staffing in line with specific focused goals.  Still, opportunities can be found in these uncertain times if you continue to manage your business wisely.

With the Presidential election out of the way, uncertainty continues to challenge small businesses:  85% of owners report lingering concern over the direction of the national economy, and 52% see this as their biggest issue.  I’m sure this is no surprise to you – you’ve managed your own economic concerns for some time now.

You also know that uncertainty about the impact of Federal regulations, such as the new health-care law and payroll taxes makes strategic planning difficult.  On the upside, fewer businesses anticipate staff reductions; on the downside, fewer foresee hiring additional staff.

Conservative management practices – past, present, and future – will help ensure that you are ready to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.  For example, a competitor that is not able to weather this economic storm just might be willing to sell his client list to you.  Don’t miss the chance to increase your market share!

Strategic plans for 2013 should anticipate remaining in maintenance mode on capital outlays and staffing.

Economic uncertainty, the biggest threat, is not likely to steady itself until we see how Washington resolves the fiscal cliff it faces in early 2013.  And, it would help to hear more outspoken support for free-enterprise.  Fears are the enemy of sound planning, though, so manage your economic concerns wisely to keep them in their place.

 

By Steven Schlagel