In the past few years, the national economic recovery has likely been a boon for many small business owners, who have seen their bottom lines improve considerably. Likewise, those trends are expected to continue – perhaps even more significantly – over the course of the coming year, but entrepreneurs will have to be ready to seize upon the opportunity.
Plenty of recent data shows that many are now having an easier time finding approval for small business loans, and that's just one of many indicators that their chances for expansion are going to grow this year, according to a report from Crain's New York Business. This may be especially true for entrepreneurs who seek relatively smaller amounts of financing, or lines of credit, as banks may choose to become far more flexible in these areas first as a means of testing the waters for broader lending upticks.
In addition, it's important to note that companies in some industries – such as technology, health care, tourism, and education, are more likely to see improvement than others, the report said. Further, some parts of the country will typically see larger steps forward than others.
Some potential challenges still exist
Of course, not everything in the small business sector will be primed to improve individual companies' chances for improvement this year, the report said. For one thing, health insurance costs and other issues that are becoming more prevalent these days on a federal level may hinder growth in some ways for certain businesses, as could the rising cost of energy. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration recently announced that it expects cost increases of 2.1 percent for both electricity and natural gas over the course of the year thanks to federal regulatory changes.
"The rules regulate electricity producers, especially those that use coal," said Dan Bosch, manager of regulatory policy for the National Federation of Independent Business. "Rates almost have to go up."
Independent owners will certainly have to keep their internal costs in mind even as revenues continue to rise, and constantly be on the lookout for ways in which they can reduce these expenses. For instance, shopping around for more affordable small business insurance policies – such as liability insurance – can help companies' bottom lines tremendously by savings them as much as thousands of dollars per year, which can then be devoted to other aspects of the business.