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article imageSigns of economic growth good news for small business

By Greta McClain     Aug 4, 2014 in Business
Recent reports of falling unemployment, increased production and a rise in the GDP have many cautiously optimistic the U.S. economy is on the road to recovery, which is especially good news for small businesses.
Earlier this month, the Labor Department announced the jobless rate fell to 6.1 percent, the lowest rate since September 2008. In fact, hiring exceeded the 200,000 mark for the fifth straight month and many experts predict the trend will continue. On Wednesday the Commerce Department reported the U.S. economy rose at a rate of 4 percent during the second quarter. Consumer spending for household recreational goods, along with a sharp increase in the number of goods being stocked by businesses, helped to bolster the GDP during the second quarter. Barclays senior economist, Michael Gapen, told the New York Times:
“It isn't something people are going to get excited about, but it does represent honest, real progress.”
News of an economic upswing is certainly good news for small businesses, who perhaps suffered the most since the severe economic downturn began in 2007. According to a Fox News report, more than 200,000 small businesses vanished between 2008 and 2010. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an estimated 1.6 million self-employed small business jobs were lost between 2007 and 2012.
However, a recent survey showed that small businesses are making a modest comeback, recording a .7 percent increase in employment. According to a Washington Post report, this increase accounted for a combined 210,000 new jobs during the months of June and July.
To take advantage of the economic upswing, many experts point to the Internet and a strong Internet presence as an essential part of a business’ success. For any business, whether it is the small mom and pop store down the street or a billion dollar corporation, a website is the key to success. An article by the Huffington Post says a website is the "calling card" for the business, the place where most potential customers get their first impression of the business. With the number of business review sites now available on the Internet, having a website allows a business to have a direct link on the review sites. If customers like what they read, they can immediately click on the website link and learn more about the business.
The ability to sell products online is another key to small business success. Fox Business News reports countless companies have "reinvented themselves" by opening online stores, thus expanding the customer base and increasing revenue.
Although expanding the customer base is certainly important, Entrepreneur reminds business owners that making current customers feel valued and appreciated is just as important. Developing incentive programs for loyal customers not only helps a business retain customers, but can lead to customer referrals and good reviews on business review sites. Bloomberg Businessweek also points to online marketing and promotions as a way to help small businesses succeed.
Simply having a website is not enough however. Of equal importance is doing research, separating myth from reality and choosing the hosting company that best meets the needs and goals of the business.
Although many experts caution that the recent good economic news may prove to be an anomaly and not a trend, the Internet and a strong web presence is a great place for small businesses to start so they can position themselves to take advantage of economic recovery.
More about US economy, Economic growth, Business, Small business, Internet
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