Here are some indicators that 2016 is the year to expand your business:
- Labor - The unemployment rate in the U.S. is a complex issue; however, one thing is clear: as the rate falls, businesses have to compete harder for qualified applicants. With rates estimated to fall below 5 percent by the end of 2016, now is the time to hit the labor market and bulk up for personnel to handle your expansion.
- Also, there is a rising trend in the labor market toward contract or freelance workers. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, over 40% of the U.S. workforce is made up of these so-called "contingent workers," and this trend is expected to grow. Businesses can take advantage of this trend as they test the waters of expansion by hiring contract workers before committing to full-time employees.
- Interest Rates - On December 16 the Federal Reserve raised interest rates 0.25 percent, the first increase since 2006. Predictions are that the Fed will slowly raise rates a few more times in 2016 and 2017. If you are looking to finance growth, now is the time to act before rates move higher. This article in Forbes suggests that the rate increase may help banks expand small business lending.
- If you plan to expand in 2016, now is a good time to revisit forecasts and growth plans to see how raising interest rates might affect those plans. Plus look at current loans and lines of credit to see if they are the best option for you in a rising rate environment. If you have a solid credit history, explore refinancing to lower your interest rate and put you in a better position for expansion.
- Marketing Innovations - In the past few years, ways to reach your target audience have increased exponentially. Promoting your business isn't limited to expensive advertising that you're never sure really works anyway or costly direct mail. There are so many other types of promotions that are less expensive and much more easily tracked for ROI. Social media, inbound marketing, and content marketing, to name a few, are excellent means to reach your target audience and expand your business.
- Any expansion plan should include a careful review of your website. You don't have to be a large multi-national conglomerate to have a successful website that can attract and convert customers.