The economy has gone through significant changes in the last few years and many of those trends are expected to continue over the coming months, but whether they'll all be beneficial to small business owners remains to be seen. However, they won't all affect small businesses in the same way, and therefore owners will need to be cognizant of the things that they'll likely encounter over the course of 2014.
One issue that has been particularly problematic for small business owners in the last few years has been the ways in which government decisions, particularly at the federal level, have affected them, according to a report from the Associated Press. And, while the fallout from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's various mandates will likely continue to affect small businesses as the year goes on, it seems that federal lawmakers could finally start doing more to help independent enterprise flourish this year. That could include what many experts believe will be a tax break extended at some point this year to ensure that companies can continue to write off $500,000 worth of new equipment purchases necessary to helping their companies succeed. If Congress does not act to keep that allowance in place, the amount businesses can write off in this regard will fall appreciably, to just $25,000. Further, elected officials could take additional steps to ensure that companies are in a better position to succeed, particularly because the mid-term elections are coming up in November.
However, some governmental issues will still remain, the report said. In July 2013, the Obama administration announced that it would push back the requirement that companies with 50 or more employees provide those workers with health insurance until 2015, and that means that owners will have to go shopping this year if they did not do so already. The more quickly they get these considerations out of the way, the better off their companies will likely be as the new deadline approaches.
What other challenges could be around the corner?
Of course, any small business owner who has struggled in the last few years can verify that the challenges faced in recent months are likely to continue in some way going forward, the report said. For instance, it could remain difficult to find capital and financing over the course of 2014, but some experts believe that conditions will loosen at least a little bit. Small business lending increased 2 percent in the first nine months of last year, which isn't a necessarily notable increase, but that trend could become more prevalent going forward as well.
Increased access to small business credit from lenders and other, alternative sources, coupled with even relatively small revenue growth seen as a result of the generally improving economy could go a long way toward helping companies succeed in 2014, the report said. This may be particularly true because many experts project housing growth to step forward in a big way this year; in general, improvement in this sector is often reflected in others as well, such as manufacturing and retail.
Therefore, owners who are hoping to further shore up their companies' financial standings over the next several months or more might want to start shopping around for more affordable small business insurance coverage. Doing so, such as by seeking out lower-cost general liability insurance and other such plans, can save companies thousands of dollars per year, which can then be devoted to other areas which may allow an enterprise to grow and find greater success throughout 2014 and beyond.