WASHINGTON -- Small businesses could see more opportunities to grow from pursuing new markets overseas, women, minorities and increasing their investment in technology during this election year and beyond.
The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy released a working paper recently that outlines the opportunities and challenges for small businesses. The paper was authored by Chad Moutray, chief economist and director of economic research at SBA's advocacy office.
The five major challenges are strengthening the overall economy, taxes and regulation, the cost and availability of health insurance, attracting and retaining a quality workforce and global competition, according to the paper.
The five opportunities that small businesses may pursue in the next decade are increasing investments in technology and innovation, grooming local entrepreneurs for growth, pursuing new markets overseas, promoting entrepreneurship among women, minorities, veterans and immigrants, and advancing education and training.
"Voters will decide who can best lead the country at this important time in our history," Moutray said. "Small business owners should also use this event to assess the impact of proposed policies on various opportunities and challenges facing their businesses."
Between 2004 and 2005, nearly 83% of all of the net new jobs in nation's economy stemmed from businesses with fewer than 20 employees, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Right now, small businesses have taken a wait-and-see approach to the challenging economic environment, with most postponing the exploration of any new opportunities at least until there are signs that the economy is improving, Moutray said. In the meantime, many firms are looking for ways to streamline their operations or to reevaluate their business model, paying closer attention to their balance sheet.
"Leadership from both political parties embrace policies that stimulate entrepreneurship and its contributions to our economy and to our competitive strength in the global marketplace," Moutray said. "Americans will head to the polls in a matter of weeks. Many of us will be looking to our leaders for solutions to the challenges confronting small businesses across the country."