Small Businesses and the Crisis

Small businesses comprise almost half of all American employment and 42.5 percent of GDP. Yet even though these small firms are a vital part of the U.S. society, they are often financially fragile, having very little money on hand to cushion even a minor hit or recession. And even if you are lucky enough to have a substantial amount of money stashed away as savings, there is no guarantee that your savings will be sufficient to keep your small business afloat through lean times. As a result, entrepreneurs are often forced to choose between the slow demise of their business dream and the vulnerability of their business investment.

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The good news is that the condition of most American business enterprises has improved over the past few years. There have been encouraging signs in the number of business startups, which have increased both the number of start-ups and the number of established firms that are still on track to create jobs in the U.S. But the good news does not stop there. As a result, the opportunities to take advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities offered by today’s economy have never been so good.

Today’s entrepreneurs face many challenges in creating new firms. Entrepreneurs face both immediate and long-term challenges in establishing a business. Immediate obstacles include finding skilled workers, investors, and commercial business loans. These entrepreneurs also must work to deal with the highly competitive aspects of business life – from having to compete with larger firms that have deep pockets to dealing with challenging local business regulations. Longer term obstacles, however, include the development of entrepreneurial skills that will lead to the creation and maintenance of new businesses.

Perhaps one of the most encouraging trends in the past few years has been the emergence of more entrepreneurial firms that provide services in a wide range of sectors. For example, the accounting and bookkeeping services provided by accounting and bookkeeping services firms have surged in recent years as more entrepreneurs seek larger profits through greater efficiency. Similarly, the internet has played an important role in making it easier for people to set up business from home, increasing both the number of entrepreneurs looking to take their business ideas further and the services provided by online entrepreneurs. Perhaps most significantly, however, the decline in real estate prices that has accompanied the housing boom has created a wealth of opportunity for entrepreneurs who are interested in providing services such as accounting and bookkeeping, financial advising, and management advice.

Given the current state of the business climate, it is very unlikely that there will be a rapid return to the business levels of the past. In fact, given the degree of competition and the relative scarcity of start-up capital, entrepreneurial ventures are likely to remain small and profitable for the foreseeable future. However, despite these chances of business failure, there are plenty of business opportunities for entrepreneurs to take advantage of.

One such opportunity that entrepreneurs should consider is the business of real estate management. Real estate investment and management have become an increasingly important business for homeowners throughout the United States. Homeowners are relying increasingly on professional real estate agents, investors, and other professionals to manage their portfolios, and real estate has served as a reliable, secure source of income for many homeowners. Real estate brokers and managing agents have traditionally operated through the mediums of newspapers, television, and radio, but a fundamental change in the way that business is conducted through the medium of the 21st century may have a significant impact on the business climate of entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on this lucrative sector of the overall national business economy.

Small business firms that have traditionally relied on low-cost indirect marketing strategies to promote their products and services have a unique opportunity to take advantage of a relatively new phenomena. Direct government intervention is less feasible today, and entrepreneurs should pursue strategies that directly promote their goods and services. Government procurement contracts are particularly promising given the growing need for the United States’ defense industry. By investing in the procurement needs of the federal government, small firms that focus on the procurement needs of the federal government stand to enjoy several distinct benefits.

The current crisis confronting the small business sector should not be used as an excuse for small business owners to abandon their entrepreneurial ambitions. The opportunities that exist in the current business climate should be pursued with innovative, creative thinking and a strategic planning process that take advantage of the opportunities that are available to small businesses today. If a business owner were to take advantage of these opportunities, he or she could stand to make a considerable amount of money, improve customer service, improve competitiveness, expand their market share, and improve their overall corporate performance.