Monday, June 7

Growing Businesses: Slow And Steady

If you are looking for any signs of economic recovery, think small. Small business is continuing to grow at a slow and steady pace despite economic challenges and some uncertainty over the impact of the financial overhaul bill that serves as a contrast to the Federal Reserve's call for increased small business lending.

According to the 2010 Small Business Scorecard/May by SurePayroll, small business hiring continued to increase slightly in May (+0.3 percent over April), bringing the year-to-date increase in hiring to 3.7 percent. The reason is simple enough. There is a psychology behind the optimism.

Small Business Scorecard By Region

• Midwest, up 4.3 percent with Illinois leading growth
• Northeast, up 2.3 percent with no distinguishable leader
• South, up 3.5 percent with California leading growth
• West, up 3.9 percent with Texas leading growth

In most states, the trade-off for improved employment is smaller salaries and slightly diminished optimism (down from 68 percent to 63 percent from April to May) as small businesses accept greater risks to take their companies to the next level.

One Quick Tip For Developing Businesses

As small businesses grow, owners quickly learn they have to wear many hats. Most of them serve as human resources director, purchasing agent, sales agent, bookkeeper, etc., etc. In fact, the number one complaint I hear from many business owners is that they eventually feel pulled away from the passion that prompted them to open their business in the first place.

Even with marketing, social media may have opened up a low cost opportunity that is being readily adopted, but relatively few really have time to follow the "owner online" model prescribed by some social media experts and authors.

Likewise, most small business tips smack of common sense that still can't be executed, e.g., avoid distractions, limit e-mail usage, organize time slots, and tackle the big rocks first. Sure, such tips work but only on a tactical basis. But to succeed strategically, business owners should focus on two things: what they love to do and their overall vision for the company.

Sure, they need to learn some basics across several subjects to ensure they hire the right people and outsource to the right consultants or small businesses. But they don't have to wear all those hats. They only have to wear one, besides whatever it is that they love to do, and that is the hat of an executive who is capable of hiring people who take on dual roles within the company. It's a strategy worth detailing later this week.

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