The United States economy has improved substantially in the past several years, with a variety of trends combining to improve prospects for organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry. However, as many analysts would argue, the small business sector is still the most important segment of the overall financial situation in the nation, and this has, luckily, been where many improvements have been made in the past several quarters.
First and foremost, the resurgent small business lending landscape has been the most critical aspect of economic gains, as entrepreneurs are not likely to launch new operations or expand upon existing ones when they cannot access the credit they need. Additionally, increasing home valuations and a drop in unemployment have driven consumer spending back up to far healthier levels than seen at any time since the Great Recession struck roughly six years ago.
Now, small business owners have stronger prospects in terms of credit availability, consumer demand and support from the federal government, making it more likely for these economic leaders to drive further improvements across the United States. Additionally, affordable technology and a shift in the general makeup of the workforce are further supporting small business owners.
NFIB's positive report
The National Federation of Independent Businesses recently released its Small Business Optimism Index, which revealed a slight increase in positive sentiments among American entrepreneurs in January. Although the gain was only 0.2 points, this is still good news for the overall economy, as more widespread optimism will generally translate to more active pursuits of new employees and business purchases.
According to the NFIB, January represented the third straight month of increases to the index, while the score stood at 94.1 points going into February. Bill Dunkelberg, the chief economist for the NFIB, did cite concerns about the upcoming midterm elections, when he believes important players in Washington will not be focused on strategic improvements so much as simply gaining or sustaining their seat in Washington.
Still, if the past several months have proven anything, it is that the private sector has largely taken off its restraints and driven economic health on its own. Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration, which is the most critical federal entity for entrepreneurs, will not be concerned with the elections nearly as much as it is in driving health in the small business sector.
Rise in freelancing
One novel and unique trend that has intensified in recent years has been a rise in the freelance workforce. Forbes reported that the freelance economy seems to be the next stage in the workforce's evolution, as roughly 42 million individuals fall into this category today and more are expected to join by 2020.
The news provider stated that experts are forecasting the rate of workforce members who are freelancers to increase from 33 percent today to more than 50 percent within the next six years. Although this does not necessarily bode well for traditional, full-time labor markets, Forbes argued that this is a positive trend for the average small business.
For one, a greater dependence upon specialized freelancers will generally improve the flexibility of staffing. The source interviewed Glenn Glow, who is Crimson Marketing's chief executive officer, about the benefits of the freelance labor market.
"We work with subject matter experts because they bring deep expertise into the unique business issues our clients are addressing," he told Forbes. "If we're going to help a large technology company enter a new market, we will bring in consultants who understand that market. Our clients win because we help them get to market faster."
Small business owners who are looking to acquire commercial loans or get some guidance from an expert should consider contacting Ocean Capital, a bank that has specialized in entrepreneurial support for more than three decades.