A new study of small businesses in the U.S. and Europe has found that fewer and fewer entrepreneurs are optimistic about their success in the coming year.
Insurer Hiscox Ltd. reported that 38% of business owners felt optimistic about the next year, a sharp decline from last year's near half of small business owners who felt confident in their futures, reports Bloomberg.
With confidence dropping, the market is bound to be affected, so here are five tips to shore up your business in uncertain economic conditions.
1) Secure Financing
Your small business may not have great control over the market, but luck favors the prepared. Make your own luck by securing capital ahead of time.
There are many great avenues for finding money for your small business, not just angel investors or venture capitalists, so don't lose hope if you can't get a Daddy Warbucks-type to sign off on funding your future. And when you get the money, get someone to craft and read the agreement carefully.
2) Consider Crowdfunding
Don't let your business wallow if you're depressed about its prospects. Using Kickstarter or other crowdfunding platforms are a fantastic way to gauge interest in your business as well as gain some momentum for the coming year(s).
By making smart choices in your crowdfunding promises, even if you can't reach your goals, you'll have generated some confidence for your business that can propel you through tougher times.
3) Keep Morale Up
Even if you may have doubts about your business' future, don't let that uncertainty poison the work environment you've created. Think hard before making cuts to benefits, even if it's a necessary budgeting decision, as employees without healthcare or spousal benefits may be less loyal when times look up and they have more choices.
4) Apply for an Excubator
If you're worried about your company's fitness in the future, maybe it's time to get it in shape. For a price, startup excubators offer hands-on programs to accelerate your business with a combination of capital and training.
Getting a holistic business overhaul may save your company from becoming stagnant and make its future a bit more sunny.
5) Expand to a Virtual Office
Worried about losing your brick and mortar lease? Even if you do, there's no need to close up shop so long as you have a virtual office to fall back on. By maintaining an electronic office, untethered from possible landlord-tenant issues, you can remain confident in your business' presence even if you can't make rent in the coming year.
If you have questions about any of these options, sound legal advice from an experienced business lawyer can increase optimism astronomically.