Small businesses face an uncertain year ahead. Apart from continued economic headwinds, the picture on taxes, healthcare and the availability of credit is far from clear, while a new risk is now looming large.
Small businesses face an unsure year ahead. Apart from continued economic headwinds, the picture on taxes, healthcare and the availability of credit is far from clear, while a new risk is now looming large.
Even though a last-minute deal has been struck on Capitol Hill to avert the country falling over the fiscal cliff, it’s far from being a definitive deal. It has generated very little enthusiasm from either of the two parties, so it’s almost inevitable that it’s going to be the subject of further intense haggling over the coming months.
There’s nothing like uncertainty – particularly uncertainty over taxes – to keep small business owners sitting on their hands instead of hiring new staff or buying new equipment.
On top of this is the added confusion over new healthcare laws. Under the new ACA/“Obamacare” legislation, companies with over 50 employees will have to provide their staff with affordable healthcare insurance. But a lot of the detail still has to be worked out – such as which states will offer their own health exchanges – leaving many small business owners in the dark over the cost and availability of cover.
Many businesses will consider the climate too volatile to borrow money, but for those in need of new funding, the news is pretty bleak. Banks are likely to keep small business lending to a minimum again this year. Some firms are struggling to even roll over their existing financing.
With so little spare cash around, it is more important than ever to make sure you have the right small business insurance. It can be your firm’s life preserver in a crisis – see it as a line of credit that’s available in an emergency, but one that’s much easier to get hold of than a bank loan and can be tailored to your individual needs.
With economic growth continuing to be sluggish, it’s never been more important for small businesses to keep their own costs under control. There are plenty of cloud computing and ecommerce solutions available on the market today that can help to cut your firm’s expenses and free up time previously spent on admin for you to serve your clients better.
The security of companies’ IT systems is becoming a growing problem, even for small businesses. Cyber attacks targeted against companies have risen sharply in the past few years and now represent one of the biggest threats facing businesses.
Small firms can be seen as a soft target by cyber criminals, because they don’t have the sophisticated defenses that their bigger counterparts can afford. They may even be completely unaware their systems have been attacked until it’s too late.
Ecommerce firms can buy business interruption cover to compensate their earnings that have been lost as a result of a hacker attack. But perhaps the most valuable part of the coverage is that it offers you access to experts, who can provide you with advice and guidance if you fall victim to an attack.