Don’t let the latest NFIB report get you down. Better still don’t let it slow you down. Here’s what’s going on. The National Federation of Independent Businesses puts out a report called the Small Business Optimism Index and in its last report a few key indicators dropped by as much as 3 points from September to October 2017. Overall though there was a slight increase, which is a good thing. Up to this point Earnings Trends, Expected Credit Conditions and Plans to Increase Inventories took the biggest hits which means business owners up to then have been a little apprehensive about growth through the fall season.
But, that’s all about to change as the holiday spending season starts to ramp up and as consumer confidence starts to build.
Small businesses are really excited this season reporting more job openings and higher expectations that spending and the overall economy will improve. That’s a really good thing. To summarize a few points it is reporting that about 21% of business owners polled claim that they expect real sales to be higher, 32% expect the economy to improve and 35% claim they have current openings they are unable to fill. It might looks like a mixed back on the surface but it’s looking like there’s going to be a strong finish to the year. Which means, regardless of how you’ve done so far your business you can still hit the goals you set for it.
Don’t let a few lagging indicators negatively affect your business!
While these reports are helpful for getting a gauge on what’s happening on a macro scale you shouldn’t let reports like this be an excuse for not performing your best. Every business has hurdles but it’s how you deal with them that will dictate your successes.
My advice is just to power through. Here are a few places to start:
Take a look at your margins and other operational metrics to see how you can make your business leaner and more efficient. I want you to think about how you can get the absolute most out of the resources you currently have access to. If you can’t instantly bring more money in right away then look to see if you can create some cost savings and streamlining.
After that start reaching out. Reach out to current clients, past customers, anyone that might be a stakeholder and ask them about their experience with your business. Get some feedback or ask for a testimonial. A drop in an index doesn’t mean that the act of business is coming to a halt it just means that you have to get creative and strategic about making your deliverable unique.
Focus on the service. Whether you are customer or operations-centric it’s important to never dismiss people the people that are paying you. Especially when it’s so easy to use pricing/discounting as a sales weapon. Don’t get me wrong I love a good sale but if you aren’t careful you could price yourself right out of business. So focus on adding value, focus on the service and the interaction people have when they engage your brand. If someone is paying you for something then they should have your full attention. It’s that attention that will keep them coming back.
This post wasn’t supposed to be a list of how to not get bogged down by a mixed bag of business owner opinions but it ended up that way.
I’m not mad about it.
There is always something that can be done to push your business forward even when the news says the opposite. Remember that there are outliers in any statistical representation, there’s always a standard deviation. So shoot for that. Don’t just say you are different be different. Use Twitter and Facebook to engage with your constituent base. Start a kickstarter campaign for a cause with your business leading it - do something to show people you and your business cares. But most of all don’t just go through the motions. You have to mean it! If you aren’t genuine in your efforts you will be as obvious and as snake-oily to spot as the person who shows up to networking events trying to bulldog-pitch-a-sale at every conversation.
Don’t be that person.
No one likes that person.