Times change constantly in the corporate world, and in this particularly new year, we’ve got an epic chasm, rupture, whatever you’d like to call it, revolutionizing (or terrorizing) the entire industry of commerce. This isn’t a surprise, though. There will always be challenges. What separates us from the victims is our ability to handle those challenges and come out on top.
It’s about rising to the occasion, changing with the times, progressing to a higher level of technical proficiency and efficiency. Sure, it seemed like a big wall to climb with something called the “Affordable Care Act” in place; but growing pains are, in fact, pains, and some of us either grew from it or crumbled.
We can talk about the growth, though. It’s all about being positive. There are concerns, yes — but, again, we learn from it and become better in the long run. How have we become better?
It’s About Entrepreneurship
Undoubtedly, we’ve seen a scourge representing the American Dream unlike anything we’ve seen in awhile. People are getting creative about starting up their own businesses. The tools are available, especially with the Internet soaring in the stratosphere. There are ways to leverage your capital, utilize the new technology with cost-efficiency and even implement all sorts of legal support to cover all your bases with the government.
In particular are these major facts about the good trends we can expect for the new year:
- Look for the Housing Crisis to End Soon —
The statistics don’t lie as the S&P Case/Shiller index of housing prices actually jumped up a sizable 11% in the past 12 months. That’s not too shabby, something small businesses can rest in with such a robust real estate industry.
- Better Credit Rates —
This may be a good sign that we really are in a state of recovery when you think about it. Apparently, obtaining credit has gotten easier with delinquency rates at an all-time low. Only 1.9% of all small business loans are, in fact, only 31 to 90 days overdue.
- This Benefits Independent Contractors —
How so? It’s very simple. When looking at the housing market, understand that it makes the revenue of home builders, plumbers, inspectors and just about any other contractor associated with the real estate market skyrocket. In essence, if the home value goes up, so does the value of these workers.
The Specific Trends and Changes to Watch Out for in 2014
Being prepared is numero uno for any change, no matter how drastic. In a sense, then, this particular section shouldn’t be about ‘changes’ or ‘trends’ inasmuch as they are tips and strategies to implement regarding those changes. Take some notes here. Your business will thank you later.
- Mobile Technology Will Slowly Acquire the Throne —
It’s about the smartphones, the tablets, the mobile-optimized websites. People these days are more on the go than ever, so having the ability to look at your corporate website via mobile phone without having to scroll or squint a lot will actually make you that much more appealing.
- Crowdfunding Is Also King —
The mantra used to be about size matters. Now it’s about numbers. Crowdfunding is all about amassing a massive amount of ‘followers’ online to basically fund, at small amounts, your corporate goals. When you add it all up, that’s a healthy capital startup. Traditional funding was about getting the giant deposit in. This is about a ton of tiny deposits, spread out over time. It’s a pretty decent alternative for small businesses.
- Forecast Your Sales Tax Way Ahead of Time Now —
This is something we really don’t even think about, or have had no need to think about (unless we’re accountants), but nowadays due to the new interstate sales tax requirements in some states, small businesses might see some problems if not prepared. That’s why it’s now probably that much more of a great idea to discuss something with your tax guy about some early projections. It’s all about preparation.
- Get to Tracking the Hours of Your Employees —
Yes, this would require some more legwork and documentation on your part. You will, however, benefit greatly at the end. The reason being is that the Affordable Care Act does require that you track the hours for your employees if you’re applicable to the Affordable Care Act with over 50 employees, providing insurance policies. If you have 50 or less, though, disregard this bullet.
- A Look at the Defense of Marriage Act —
This changes the game drastically. How? The definition of marriage has dramatically expanded to same-gender spouses, which affect payroll taxes, health insurance and various employment laws, in particular the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act). Take a look at your own workforce and see how that might affect you and your company.
A Look Into the Future
There are only going to be more changes, too. Keep a close eye on it. Those changes might come out of the most unexpected places — or niches, as it were — particularly out of immigration law.
We’re, of course, talking about mandatory electronic verification requirements, a new I-9 form and even several others:
- The Question of Severance Pay as Taxable or Exempt
- Privacy and Data Security Updates for Cyber Fraud
- And Many Others
The biggest trend, the greatest tip here, is simple, though. Simply be prepared. Discuss any issues you may have with your qualified business lawyer. As long as you are, the future hopefully should look relatively bright.
License: Creative Commons
Matt Faustman is the CEO at UpCounsel. You can follow his business insights on Twitter at @upcounsel.