Small Businesses Anticipate Breakout Year Ahead
Posted by Reposted from another publication on Mar 18, 2015
From the Wall Street Journal, Dec. 30, 2013:
by Angus Loten
Despite Some False Starts, Entrepreneurs Expect to Put the Downturn Behind Them in 2014
Entrepreneur Bill Brown had scaled back his San Jose, Calif., construction firm as demand for new Silicon Valley homes and offices dried up in recent years, cutting his staff by two-thirds, to 50 by late 2011.
But over the course of 2013, he has spent $200,000 on equipment and some new trucks—after "running the old trucks pretty hard for too long," he says—and brought staff levels back to about 100 workers, recently hiring 20 more people. He plans to hire dozens more to fill new construction jobs in 2014.
After several false starts in the dragged out U.S. economic recovery, one might expect America's small-business owners to be wary. Yet many, such as Mr. Brown, expect 2014 to be a breakout year, one that finally puts the worst of the downturn behind them.
"It's hard not to be optimistic. We're struggling to keep up with demand and I don't see this stopping any time soon," he says.
Of course, entrepreneurs may be an optimistic bunch by nature—few people go into business for themselves expecting to fail. But the optimism may now be underpinned by some encouraging signs about 2014. Overall the economy expanded by 4.1% in the third quarter, driven by an upswing in consumer spending, and unemployment overall in November was down to its lowest in five years.
A 30-year veteran of the construction industry who builds homes and offices for technology executives across Northern California, Mr. Brown says he expects Bill Brown Construction Co.'s revenue to hit $12 million in 2013, up from $10 million in 2012 and more than double his earnings at the height of the recession.
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