Whenever it looks like we’re in an economic downturn, a handful of optimistic and hard-working small business owners and entrepreneurs charge ahead behind the rallying cry: I refuse to participate in a recession!
We aren’t currently in a recession, but according to the most reliable economic indicators, we aren’t in a boom cycle either. However, we are in an era where one indicator is going through the roof: The number of opinion surveys.
More public opinion surveys are being conducted today than ever before and frankly many are starkly contradictory. The entire polling and surveying industry is in a state of flux itself. Recent major misses in predicting elections results are signs of this.
Small business optimism polls
But, their accuracy in measuring the health and attitude of small businesses seems to equally as poor. Here’s a quote from the CNBC article summarizing the recent survey conducted by Gallup for Wells Fargo:
“The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, a measure of optimism, dropped from 71 in January to 64 in April, Wells Fargo said. It was the first significant decrease since November 2012. The survey questioned 601 small business owners.”
That article appeared on May 11. One day later, reporting on a National Federation of Independent Business optimism survey, the Wall Street Journal said this:
“Confidence among small business owners increased in April after a March drop, according to a report released Tuesday. Hiring activity also picked up, although many owners said they could not find qualified workers.”
In fairness, I need to point out that the Wells Fargo index has a reporting period of January to April, while the NFIB index has a reporting period of March to April. But the important thing to learn is that surveys, polls and indexes aren’t important. In an era like today, they are “all over the place” and at best they create an attitude of uncertainty. Further, even an accurate survey shows where we were, not where we are and certainly not where we are going.
Your future is not controlled by a survey, unless you allow it to. This is why I exhort you: Refuse to be sucked into the current atmosphere of uncertainty.
The enemy of small business owners
Uncertainty is the enemy of a small business owner. You need to make decisions every day. You need to have a strategy that guides you over the next several months. You will make some wrong decisions and you will make some great decisions. That’s just a fact. However, you must be resilient. You must be able to put bad decisions behind you and carry on.
I believe that for any of your decisions to have a chance at being successful, the actions that follow those decisions must be founded on confidence. Half-hearted efforts are bound to fail.
All of us prefer recoveries over recessions and certainty over uncertainty, but for you – small business owner – all that matters is how you are doing. Remember, even in the absolute worst economic times, such as the Great Depression, there were plenty of successful businesses and startups.
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I hope the observations, advice and encouragement I’ve given you here provide you with you some mental ammunition to shoot down any doubts that creep into your thinking when you’re skimming the headlines and come across negative economic news.
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