Categorized | Business


Positive Economic Indicators to Be Thankful For

By Tom Irmen

It’s difficult to determine what has been more challenging over the last three years, the recession itself or the uncertainty surrounding this financial chaos that often appears to have no end in sight. Hardly a newscast passes without conflicting data supporting either a potential end to our financial woes or data supporting continuation of one of the longest recessions in U.S. history. Add to this the political infighting, posturing and one-ups-manship in Washington and you have a formula for continued uncertainty.

That was, until just recently.

Financial news as of late seems to support the belief that the light at the end of the tunnel is not another oncoming train as many might have feared. Here are some of the indicators I am referring to:

• Unemployment has dropped .4 of 1% to 8.6%.
• Black Friday sales skyrocketed 16% over same day sales in 2010.
• Cyber Monday sales increased 18%.
• Sales of existing homes have unexpectedly risen.
• GDP has grown, albeit modestly, every quarter this year, with economists forecasting growth of 3.2% in the fourth quarter.

So just what does all of this mean to your small business?

Many, perhaps most, small business owners are beyond overwhelmed with the whipsaw effect of conflicting data. Yet this is undeniably the most compelling positive data we have received since this stubborn, and seemingly endless, recession began.

So what should you do with this information?

Well, you don’t want to sit on your hands. Many small business owners elected to hunker down over the last several years rather than attempt to outguess this sea of uncertainty that has overwhelmed our best instincts and predictions for the future.

One thing most of us can agree on is that the future will likely look much different than we might have imagined. It’s doubtful that any of us will return to business as usual anytime soon.

With deteriorating home prices, declining retirement account values, and future economic uncertainty, it is likely that the consumer will continue to focus on both value and higher levels of service. Small businesses that meet the challenging future needs of this very different consumer demographic will benefit greatly. Those who ignore these changes, returning to the status quo, will experience erosion in both their consumer base and future revenue growth.

This new year represents the best opportunity for success for your small business that has existed since 2008. But only if your marketing strategy going into 2012 reflects recent changes in consumer spending habits. Small businesses that continue to hunker down will lose irreplaceable market share to their competitors who act boldly and decisively, taking advantage of this surge in consumer confidence.

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