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Crystal ball remains clouded

2 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Small Business — tracks feedback from small-business owners. We run the poll question each Thursday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: What’s your business forecast for the remainder of 2011?

  • Better than the first half of 2010: 48.6%
  • Same as the first half of 2010: 29.9%
  • Worse than the first half of 2010: 21.5%

On some level, it’s not surprising to see such a wide distribution of responses.  There appears to be no solid, clear indicators on the economy, so it’s difficult to forecast the rest of the year. That said, we still have to forecast using the information we have, and we have to build in contingency in case our forecast doesn’t turn out as expected — whether that’s a drop in business or a surge.

Times of uncertainty can also be great opportunities to try new business processes; for example, designing flexible schedules so you can gear up or down to match business volume. And if you are faced with a short lull in business, consider using the time to get focused and organized. It’s a great feeling to know that files are in order and everything is in place when your business is ready to take off.

Sharlyn Lauby is the HR Bartender and president of ITM Group.