FirstLight Franchise Blog

Small Business Forecast: 2014

An entrepreneur’s spirit is optimistic. It would have to be in order to start a business. After all, who starts a business with the attitude to fail? Not an entrepreneur, that’s for sure. So, it may not come as a surprise that small business owners have very high hopes for 2014. With the economy making a significant comeback, entrepreneurs are putting their best foot forward, with their focus on a brighter tomorrow.

According to The Wall Street Journal , the economy is showing favorable signs for small businesses; with the employment rate in November at the lowest it’s been in 5 years, and the economy expanding by 4.1% wrapping up the third quarter in 2013, and increases in consumer spending, small business owners have no choice but to believe in a positive 2014. Consumers are beginning to purchase more and more, seeking extra services and products.   Businesses are increasingly investing in themselves as well by updating and purchasing new equipment, tools, technology, and improving resources. This means, consumers are demanding more and small businesses are in demand, which means growth could be in the future!

Now, although the economy may have entrepreneurs thinking positive thoughts for 2014, there are still a few issues that owners are or should be focusing on:

1. Labor Marketing and Workforce Challenges: According to 2013 surveys, small business owners are struggling and will continue in 2014, to find trained or experienced employees. Since the economy has strained small business owners, they aren’t as eager or able to afford investment in talent and employees. The lower the unemployment rate, the higher the chances that small businesses will hire more employees, as well as invest in training and further their professional development. Another workforce challenge entrepreneurs may face is how the new healthcare law will affect their workforce, recruitment of potential employees, and newly hired employees. Businesses who can afford insurance under the new law may obtain and keep better-skilled employees than other small businesses who can’t afford health insurance.

2. Technology Changes. Small businesses are predicted to kick it up a notch with social media in 2014 by using more social platforms and optimizing social tools more strategically and creatively. Their goals are to reach larger audiences as well as focusing on their local customers. Also, many small businesses use cloud computing for storage. Most cloud providers are free or charge very little for their data storage, however, these providers will be increasing their prices quite drastically in 2014. Small businesses may not have a choice but to accept these changing prices, as data storage is a necessity!

3. Understand Healthcare and its Impact:  We can’t forget about the elephant in the room; healthcare. Of course, small business owners have been stressing and thinking about the new healthcare law, but in 2014 they will begin putting these laws in to practice and discovering just how much of an impact the law will have on revenues, profits, labor force, and many other aspects of the business. Small businesses should already be trying to fully understand the complexity and full dimension of the new law, and hopefully have a strategy and game plan in place.

All together, 2014 could be a bittersweet year for small business. With the economy picking up near the end of 2013, giving small business owners a chance to be optimistic, there are still plenty of issues that require thinking, studying, solving and implementation in order to ring in a prosperous 2014 next year.

Cheers to a fantastic 2014!