Not Hiring SignThe most recent Private Capital Access Index report produced by Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management, in partnership with Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., revealed that 55% of owners are less confident in their business growth prospects than one year ago (pdf). While this number may seem similar to the millions of other vague statistics floating around out there, it carries some interesting implications for small businesses in 2013.

For starters, the apparent decrease in confidence – be it in the market or economy, the consumers, or the product itself – has led many business owners to pessimism, and, in some cases, risk aversion regarding such things as hiring new employees, expanding their business, and even raising pay for current employees in 2013: 44% of businesses do not plan to raise pay for employees in next 12 months, with 17% unsure whether they will or not. But why, exactly, has the confidence of small business owners dipped?

Historically, according to Gallup, the index tends to show a positive figure, even reaching double digits during good economic years. But a number of factors — including the looming “fiscal cliff,” the effects of Superstorm Sandy and the recent election results — could be stoking Main Street’s pessimism. – The Los Angeles Times

Whatever the reasons, it is clear that 2013 will be a particularly demanding year with regard to the stress of owning a small business. It is of the utmost importance that business owners remain vigilant in the coming months by keeping a watchful eye on the vacillating market, always having a sufficient understanding of helpful (or intrusive) governmental policies and how they will affect your businesses growth (like the semantically terrifying notion of “sequestration”), and giving ample consideration to consumer sentiments.

Above all, don’t forget to breathe!

For more information check out these links:

Is your business experiencing this trend? Bucking it? Share your thoughts in the comments!

[cc image credit brianDhawkins]