Predicting The Market: Is Small Business Doomed?

This is an interesting question that many small business owners and entrepreneurs are asking themselves, as today’s reports of economic uncertainty are making things very tricky and unpredictable for everyone. According to business-owner surveys carried out last year, 69% of owners are worried about the significant challenges they already face and seem to be a little pessimistic about the growth and survival of their business. Are we doomed? Not really, but small-business owners seem to be a really grumpy lot as figures show that the number of small-business who foresee another recession next year is the highest since July 2009. July 2009 was basically when the recession rock-bottomed, and the only way was up really. Small business owners predicted a recession in that quarter for the next year too when the fact was that the U.S was recovering.

The U.S economy had expanded its output by $357 Billion over the next four quarters since then. Small-business owners had obviously got that prediction wrong. According to the survey, the ratio of pessimistic respondents about next year’s turnout is very alarming. The NSBA survey reports that for 2011, the ratio of pessimistic respondents was 44-24 and 52-24 six months before. Has the economy been steadily declining for three years in a row? Not at all, even though growth has been disappointingly slow at times since then, it has been on the upward trajectory.

Why so gloomy then? The causes are unknown, but perhaps politics, media influences and misinformation are to blame. Business owners and operators are one of the most reliable Republican occupational categories in the U.S, so it may be natural for them to have a pessimistic bias. They may be unhappy with the political party in office at the moment and drill their pessimism into people’s heads to make them believe that Obama’s policies are driving small businesses to the ground. Perhaps refusing to admit to any economic recovery when faced with contrary evidence. Maybe it’s just wiser to concentrate on the progress of your own business and leave the politics to those who want to promote their pessimistic propaganda to other business owners.

The fact is that there is a healthy 47% of small business owners experiencing growth as opposed to just 23% experiencing a decline. So if you’re worried about economic predictions for next year, the worst thing you can do is base your decisions on national economic reports. Guide yourself on your business reports for the year, rather than national conditions, which should give you clear indications of some growth and not of steady decline or stagnation. There is an alarming number of Policymakers still paying attention to what pessimistic business operators have to say. This type of “uncertainty” is the real cause of concern, by far. The best thing that Congress can do for the small business to encourage consumer spending may be as simple as reviving the payroll holiday or some tax relief for Americans.

Realistically, though, the likelihood of Congress stepping in to save the day is very slim, we know. Aren’t we glad to have the power of the internet and social media websites as our essential business tools to broaden our audience reach? There are over 1.19 Billion active Facebook users out there, 500 million users for Twitter and an astonishing 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

With 62% of adults worldwide who use social media websites, it is pretty clear that promoting your business on social media websites is the way forward. You can be smart about advertising on social media websites, don’t just dive into all platforms at once as this can be discouraging if you don’t get the wanted results. For example, if you’re a small business that is looking to get noticed in the neighborhood, Facebook may be the way to go. Especially with their new ‘Pages Popular in your area’ feature on the right-hand side of their webpage.

Now if you’re a business professional, (and it doesn’t matter where in the world you are) then perhaps LinkedIn is a good starting point, but a lot of businesses are now coming to appreciate the benefits of search engine optimization or online marketing – also known as Internet marketing. In addition, the advertising power of social media, with a great SEO campaign and your small business growth possibilities are going to be looking up.