Slow Recovery and Higher Costs Still Plague Many Small Businesses

Across the country, the recovery from the recent recession has been somewhat slow, particularly for small business owners. While many consumers may now be finding themselves in an improved position financially, that hasn't necessarily translated to independent enterprise because the costs they face to run their daily operations have increased significantly, and not commensurate with the improvements they may have seen.

Many small business owners nationwide have likely seen their revenues improve in the last few years, but those positive steps haven't always been as good as they might have been just a few years ago, according to a report from the Macon Telegraph. While many companies are finding themselves in a better position these days, the fact remains that it's probably not as good as it should be, thanks in large part to rising costs for everything from supplies to employee insurance costs. The latter is only likely to go up with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's small business mandate at the start of next year, which states that all companies with 50 or more employees that do not offer their workers health insurance must begin to do so; only a small percentage of small businesses nationwide fall into this category, but it nonetheless remains a point of concern.

"I think overall it seems like the cost of everything is going up, besides heath care, so when trying to maintain a solid employee base … you have to be more and more competitive when it comes to compensation," Shane Gott­wals, owner of Gottwals Books in Warner Robins, Georgia, told the newspaper. "My costs, not only as a business owner, are going up. But the costs for my employees just to live are going up. … We have seen an increase (in revenue) in our business year over year – we always have – but to keep the staff you have and to keep your level of quality service where it's been is challenging."

Some issues exacerbating this one
Of course, many independent enterprises might be able to better deal with rising operations costs if they had access to credit from small business lenders, but the fact of the matter is that many still haven't loosened their purse strings following the end of the recession, the report said. While this type of lending is certainly on the rise, many experts in the industry have noted that it is perhaps not where it should be – or needs to be – in terms of actually being able to help smaller companies flourish as the recovery continues; data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., shows that through the end of the third quarter of last year, some $284 billion in small business loans were extended, up just 2 percent from the same time a year earlier.

Many businesses need access to credit as a means of expanding their operations in some way, whether it's simply being able to hire more workers, or buying equipment that might be vital to helping them take on a larger workload. But when it's not available, owners might have to get creative in other ways to make sure they have the financial flexibility to make the moves they think are vital to keeping their companies growing. That might include having to cut some expenditures from their bottom lines, and one great way to do that is to shop around for more affordable small business insurance. Finding more reasonable policies for coverage including workers compensation or general liability insurance that still fit a company's needs might end up saving thousands of dollars per year, which can then be devoted to other parts of the company.