Driving growth is always a top priority for any business, large or small. Fortunately, current trends suggest
a climate conducive to expansion. Trusted media outlets, including The Washington Post, Kiplinger, and
Reuters, have issued optimistic economic forecasts for 2014. The Associated Press reports that
"consumers will spend more. Government will cut less. Businesses will invest more. And more companies
will hire. Add it all up, and you can see why expectations are rising that 2014 will be the best year for the
economy since the recession ended 4 1/2 years ago."
According to a report released by the Commerce
Department last month, the fourth quarter of 2013
saw the U.S. economy expand by an annual rate of
3.2 percent. This percentage was achieved in spite
of the government shutdown, which seems to have
had little effect on consumer and business spending.
Looking ahead, The International Monetary Fund
projects global economic growth for 2014 at 3.7
percent, and predicts a rise to 3.9 percent in 2015.
Technology: Biggest Growth Factor
Technology is probably the single biggest factor in
driving growth for small businesses going into 2014.
Technological measures are allowing many
businesses to operate with greater efficiency, eliminating the need for new hires and allowing for greater
growth potential. SurePayroll, a company specializing in small business payroll services, reports that 84
percent of small businesses are using electronic means of creating customer awareness, including
websites and online advertising. The study showed that 73 percent of those surveyed use their company
websites to sell products or services; 42 percent have used online ads; and 27 percent employ tablets
and other mobile devices to demonstrate their wares. Cloud computing is also becoming more prevalent
in the workplace. The use of this storage and sharing tech is helping to foster greater synergy within
The Freelance Boom Continues
Another area experiencing a boom is the freelance economy. Forbes reports that one in three Americans
are freelancers, and that by 2020 it's expected that half of the workforce will be primarily freelance.
According to Forbes, "the fre"e economy is exploding at exactly the same moment that companies
are undergoing a major shift in how they hire. Talent is moving from a fixed cost to a variable cost, with
companies staffing up and down as needed." These factors are leading to a historic break from the
traditional pattern, where a downturn in the economy typically leads to an increase in freelancing. "As we
look to the economy of 2014, one thing is certain. The exploding freelance economy will drive change.
Those who understand these changes and can adapt will be best prepared to take advantage of the
freelance revolution," Forbes says.
2014 looks to be an exciting year, with many opportunities for businesses to drive growth. Feel free to get
in touch with us for more information on how these factors may affect your business.