It's the start of a new year, which means hope abounds for everyone.
January is the time for new ventures, new resolutions and renewed faith in all the things that you want to accomplish this year that you didn't get to last year. In fact, "starting my own business" is always one of the most popular New Year's resolutions every single year. For the most part, 2012 was a good year for small businesses. As a group it didn't grow as much as the government would have liked, but that's understandable given the economic challenges. Overall though, optimism was high and the numbers were good.
This is also the time of year that everyone loves to get into the "predicting" game - looking into the crystal ball and seeing what will happen. Why? Because it's fun, and at the end of the year you either look like a genius or a dope depending on how things shake out. With that in mind, here are my three bold predictions for small businesses in 2013:
Social Media will decrease in importance for small businesses: I've said this before, but social media just isn't a viable channel for many small businesses, which is why the majority of them are flirting with it, not really going "all in." Why isn't it a viable channel? First, it costs precious time, which is something that most small businesses don't have enough of. Second, it takes more expertise and knowledge than traditional marketing, another thing that's difficult to come by quickly and easily. And third, the competition is getting more fierce for eyeballs in social, not less, which means that a lot of small businesses won't bother starting up in the first place. Instead they will opt to sticking to tried and true marketing methods that ensure a more concrete payoff instead.
Small business hiring will increase: All of the signs point to a growing (albeit slowly) economy, and with a last minute deal struck to avoid the "fiscal cliff" - which also preserved many small business tax incentives - there's more certainty now about where the economy is headed. There are still questions to be answered, but with lending creeping higher (SBA lending volume increased to its second highest level in history last year, backing $30 billion in loans nationwide) small business owners will be more likely to add a head or two to help grow their businesses.
YOU will think about starting a small business in 2013: It's the American dream: owning your own business, making your own money and being your own boss. Nearly everyone has thought about launching their own business or what their small business idea would look like at some point. And with the coverage of small business as an industry at its highest peak, and hundreds of interesting start ups one can read about each and every day, you are going to think more seriously about starting something yourself. Maybe you won't DO it this year but it will seem more possible than it ever has and you'll get closer to taking the plunge.
Because it's fun to dream, it's fun to think about how your own business would run, and what it would be like to answer only to yourself. At the end of the day, that's just human nature.
What are your bold small business predictions for 2013?
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Jason Keith has been working for and with small businesses in the New England area for more than 10 years, specifically small, micro businesses. Born and raised in Massachusetts and a former journalist, he provides a unique perspective on the issues facing small businesses locally and nationally.To reach him directly email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here are the author's alone.