Big Issues Face Small Businesses as New Year Looms

There are plenty of heavy issues facing small businesses as the end of the year draws near. Understand what your business may be facing and how to deal with it.

BY: BRENT BARNHART ON WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 05, 2012
Big Issues Face Small Businesses as New Year Looms
Being a small business in the modern American economy is not an easy feat. In fact, nobody said it would be easy. Many today claim that the American Dream is a fading memory, meanwhile others have their eyes on the horizon as the New Year draws near. 

Small business owners are no strangers to adversity. The businesses that have managed to survive and thrive in the past decade certainly have their stories and the scars to prove their hardships. Today's entrepreneurs are frequent riders of the roller coaster known as the American economy, with its many ups and downs, as they seek to keep their doors open. Sometimes it's advantageous for business owners to take up one issue at a time; that is, by not getting overwhelmed by the headlines and focus on getting down to business. 

While the year may be ending, there's plenty going on in the small business sphere that's impacting just about every entrepreneur out there today. It may seem desirable to turtle away from the negative news we're constantly bombarded with thanks to the streamlining of today's media and information. Regardless, shying away from such issues does not make them go way.

There are a number of large issues impacting small businesses that are quickly approaching with the New Year as decisions have to be made, legislation must be passed and America at large acts to improve its economy. 

And don't fret; it's not all gloom and doom. 

The Lending Question 

Small businesses loans appear to be both easier and harder to find these days, depending on who you ask. A recent Thompson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index report for October depicted an increase in overall funding to American small businesses, up to 107.5 in October from 96.4 in September. Furthermore, borrowing was up 11% more this year than it was last year. Regardless, there many accounts of small business owners across American unable to get funding, seemingly left high and dry by a lack of lending power.

The Bigger Question 

This speaks to a bigger issue that's stalling SMBs; uncertainty. Small businesses are hesitant to hire or expand, and with so many unknown factors revolving around forthcoming legislation, what reason do businesses have to take such steep risks? Uncertainty is a formidable enemy in a business environment where businesses are doing their best to become leaner and adapt to the ever-changing economy. 

Once again, SMBs are receiving mixed signals. While consumer confidence is apparently reaching a five-year high, such confidence is not being reflected by small businesses according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. 

With all of this in mind, what exactly seems to be holding small businesses back? 

Will We Go Over the Fiscal Cliff? 

The political bickering over the fiscal cliff looks to continue toward its December 31, 2012 deadline in the midst of a stalemate over issues such as taxes. The back and forth does very little to help small businesses, as uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff keeps businesses from hiring with so much financial legislation up in the air. While the results of the fiscal cliff debate will inevitably impact nearly every American, small businesses and their ability to hire hang in the balance as politicians bicker in the background. 

The Affordable Care Act 

Similarly, the Affordable Care Act is drawing both outcry and praise from small and big businesses alike. For example, some big names in the restaurant world are rallying against the legislation, meanwhile many of those restaurants are seeing backlash for such comments. Regardless of what the legislation actually does and does not end up doing, as there's still much speculation surrounding its implementation, it's yet another contributing factor to the waiting game that small businesses are being forced to play.

The State of the Nation 

The fortunes of small businesses may turn around, however, as SMBs appear to be getting more and more support from the American public on a social level. The success of Small Business Saturday and the current buzz surrounding the renewed support of local commerce and communities represent a shift in economic mentality. That is, perhaps it's more important to build upon local businesses and communities than supporting big box retailers, even if that means taking a hit in terms of price. 

The Bottom Line 

While small businesses have plenty to be concerned about, and they should be concerned, there's plenty to be thankful for. The economy's slow recovery hasn't been kind to SMBs, but at least we've come a long way from the days of the debt ceiling and an unemployment rate over !0%. There are a number of big issues facing small businesses as the New Year draws near, yet unfortunately, much of it is out of our hands.

Until then, small business owners may operate under the principles that have kept them going in the past and rely on those principles to see them through the future, regardless of what it may hold.

About the Author

Brent Barnhart

Brent Barnhart is a freelance content writer specializing in topics such as Internet marketing and content marketing for small businesses. His goal is to help business owners find their voices online and improve their content strategies. You can reach Brent or find out more at brentwrites.com.

Full Biography