Recent research indicates that the road ahead may still be a bit bumpy for America’s smallest businesses.
Most economic indicators suggest that the economy continues to slog on with a recovery that has been both slow and uneven. This comes at a time when the stock market has been under-performing, the presidential campaign has been both colorful and unpredictable, there is a new, imposing legal reality surrounding Obamacare, and we are facing a tight labor market in some vital sectors, as well as declining GDP and consumer confidence.
Not a pretty picture…
Caught in the middle are the nation’s small businesses- many of which have been struggling to stay afloat ever since the Recession hit seven years ago. According to the new State of Small Business Report by software solutions provider, Wasp Barcode, the top three challenges facing small businesses in 2016 are: hiring new employees (50%), increasing profit (45%), and providing health care to employees (43%). Small business sentiment is also down, according to the monthly NFIB Small Business Economic Trends report. The NFIB reports that expectations for future business conditions are low as are expected sales volumes. More business owners also responded that they are cutting average prices as opposed to raising them.
Not everything is doom and gloom, however. On the positive side, small businesses are looking forward to an increase in revenue in the coming months. According to the Wasp Barcode study, 71 percent of small businesses expect some increase in revenue this year. According to the NFIB study, for all the struggles, actual spending and hiring numbers have remained at average levels as compared to the previous years.
But, much also depends on the outcome of the Presidential election as well as the buoyancy of the global markets. While the year ahead may not be smooth sailing, there may at least be some pockets of light to look forward to.