Look-Ahead Advice from Small Business Owners

Look-Ahead Advice from Leaders, Small Business Owners

As the vaccine rollout accelerates and more states relaxing mandates, businesses are beginning to experience a dose of optimism after a year of harsh pandemic conditions. However, there’s a need to balance the rosy outlook with uncertainty and preparation.

Most of the small business owners in a Capital One survey said they were confident that the U.S.  the economy will be favorable to businesses in 2021.

A Transitional Year

While 2020 was considered a transformational year, 2021 is surely seen as a transitional one for small businesses, says Sean Manning, CEO and Founder of Payroll Vault Franchising.

The optimism small business owners feel, he says, must be met with preparation that can springboard into paths for both short- and long-term success.

“As more Americans receive access to a vaccine, there is now a light at the end of the tunnel,” he writes in a Forbes Business Council post. “But there is also a renewed importance on balancing all those factors as business life shifts back to whatever will be considered the ‘new normal.’”

Relaunching in 2021

North Texas business owner Amber Briggle says 2021 has meant a relaunch opportunity for her business Soma Massage Therapy.

As the pandemic unfolded in 2020, her massage therapy business went from having two locations and 13 massage therapists to one and four therapists.

But in January, Soma Massage Therapy was able to open a second location in a shared space with another business in Denton.

“This is exactly where I had hoped to be. I wanted to rebuild. I wanted to be in a strong position so that we could relaunch in the new year,” Briggle told Lili Zheng for a story for NBC DFW in Fort Worth.

“As 2020 showed us, we don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring. It does feel like I’m taking a risk, but I think as small business owners recognize, sometimes you have to take those calculated risks if you want to launch yourself to the next level. So, fingers crossed.”

Uncertainty Still an Influencer

Even with the optimistic view, uncertainty remains a governing influence for small businesses in 2021.

Rightfully so, says Andrei Kurtuy, co-founder and chief communications officer of online resume builder Novorésumé.

“That's why it's necessary to have two strategic plans for 2021, one pessimistic with hard measures still in place, and one optimistic in case vaccines are quickly distributed, and economies throughout the world bounce back just as fast," he says in a Legal Zoom post by Stephanie Vozza.

Pivoting Experience Brings Opportunity

More than 80 percent (83 %) of the small business owners surveyed by GGV Capital and Hello Alice said they believed their business will perform better this year, with predictions of increased hiring, technology purchases and overall growth.

The NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) reported small business job growth continued as 2020 ended.

“Small businesses continued to prove that they are the engine of the economy as we closed a chapter on a challenging year,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg in a January press release.

Scott Steinberg, author of “The Business Expert’s Guide to Business,” says some of the optimism for 2021 is coming from that place of upheaval caused by the pandemic and the adaptability and pivots “nimble” small business owners learned to make to survive.

In some ways, the pandemic served as a reset button and leveled the playing field between large and small businesses, he says in a Workest by Zenefits post by Susan Johnston Taylor.

“Who is best attuned to the needs of a local community?” he asked. “Small business owners, although the key in all of this is to keep you ear to the ground and design your operations to be nimble and able to pivot on demand.”