Small-business activity is on the rise, according to the National Federation of Independent Business’s chief economist William Dunkelberg. Not counting seasonal variations, 55 percent of owners have recently hired or are planning to hire new staff, 23 percent are raising worker compensation, and 11 percent plan to create new jobs.
I asked four small-business owners how they are taking their enterprises to the next level this year. Jeffrey Bowman, founder of business accelerator REFRAME: in New York; Shirish Phatak, CEO of Talon Software in Mount Laurel, New Jersey; Alejandra Pikulski, president of accessories company Allie & Orietta in Jacksonville, Florida; and Andrew Vines, co-founder of the law firm Johnson Vines in Little Rock, Arkansas, let us in on their plans.
Alejandra Pikulski: A new goal is to launch a new product, fee-for-service, that will create a steady cash flow into the company. We are a new company that makes fashion accessories, so our sales fluctuate depending on the season. We want to create a service that will provide monthly income.
Andrew Vines: Our main goal this year is to better manage our cash flow and increase operational efficiencies. We have been experiencing high growth over the past few years, which has required us to increase our overhead expenses in terms of space, human resources, equipment and vendor services. In order to keep up our capacity, our spending has been more reactive than strategic.
Shirish Phatak: Talon provides companies with centralized file collaboration. In 2016, we would like to double our revenue and global staff footprint. Since Talon’s inception, we have maintained a very aggressive growth trajectory driven by cloud adoption.
How did you choose this goal?
Jeffrey Bowman: Our overall mission is to educate about and enforce total market disruption for the marketing and communications industries, and to be a major voice of change. With that in mind, a main focus and goal for 2016 is to scale our U.S. business.
Pikulski: We realized that new designs alone will not help with cash flow and the bottom line, so we decided to focus on creating a service that will complement our seasonal sales.
Vines: We see our growth leveling out next year, so while doing our year-end planning, my partner and I decided to scrutinize expenses in all areas of our operation. We hope to eliminate any inefficiencies and redundancies that could impact cash flow. We feel that taking a more proactive approach to overhead in anticipation of slower growth is the way that we best serve the firm next year.
For the rest of the interview, head over to the AMEX Open Forum.