While we spent the year planning and on the road for the 2013 Access to Capital Tour, small business owners were experiencing a year of change due, in large part, to the federal government.
Healthcare reform, deep budget cuts and a government shutdown, the hiring climate and more access to capital were a few of the key factors that affected small businesses this year, according to Joyce Rosenberg’s article, Looking Back on 2013’s Small Business Challenges. Here are a few key events and trends from 2013 that we’ve compiled from Rosenberg’s list and our own radar that will hopefully help business owners prepare for the New Year:
- 2013 was plagued with budget problems that resulted in the first government shutdown in almost two decades. Though short, the shutdown affected plenty of small businesses and delayed lending from the Small Business Administration. However, even though loans from the SBA were delayed, their 7(a) loan program showed growth this year.
- Job growth was another prediction for this year, especially in the small business sector, but despite a promising start, the growth dwindled until a recent spike in November, according to Rosenberg, which will hopefully carry over to 2014.
- The Affordable Care Act, which had some initial hiccups during the sign up process, will be in full swing next year so small business owners should monitor how the healthcare reform impacts their business as 2014 progresses.
- There are some exciting changes and legislation on the horizon for small business owners. The JOBS Act, which was passed in 2012, has been in a sort of limbo until October, but the crowdfunding rules were finally announced and opened up for public comment. We can look forward to a final version in February.
- If you’ve read our previous posts, you’ll know that the House Committee on Small Business recently held a hearing to assess the U.S. small business climate. Jeff Stibel, CEO & Chairman of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., whose insight was also featured in Rosenberg’s article, testified in front of the committee, explaining that more government attention needs to be paid to the smallest of the small businesses. While they are more rapidly growing, lenders favor larger small businesses. Hopefully 2014 will bring more policy and legislation devoted to fixing this paradox.
As a business owner, it is important to reflect on the past as a method to improve your business model and avoid future mistakes. So before you can strategize for 2014, you should evaluate 2013 and think about all the changes and events that affected your small business. Then, you can learn from any mistakes and enter 2014 with a solid foundation for growth and prosperity.
If you are looking forward to growing your business in 2014, but don’t know where to access the capital necessary to do so, we will be doing another nation-wide tour geared just for that! For more information or to stay up-to-date on the locations of these events, follow us on Twitter @AccesstoCapital.