Let’s jump right to the question that every woman entrepreneur who’s thinking about starting up a business in today’s economy wants the answer to: “Should I start up now or wait six months?”
On one hand, you might be thinking that starting up your business in this economy would be a risk. On the other, you might be hearing buzz that the U.S. is beginning to come out of the recession, which would mean that starting up now would put you on the leading edge of post-recession confidence.
How do you decide what to do?
Regardless of when you start up your business - in a strong or weak economy - it’s important to be aware of the following 10 economic indicators and their forecast for the next six months.
10 Economic Indicators to Consider When Starting up Your Business
1. Personal Income
Personal income is down from where it was a year ago. However, it seems to be at the bottom and will increase slowly to the end of the year.
Unemployment is on the rise and will continue to be a concern, increasing from 9.4% today to nearly 11% by the end of the year.
3. Outstanding Consumer Credit
Credit card debt has been on the rise each month for several years. It reached its peak in January 2009, and then began a gradual decline. It has now reached a plateau and is not expected to alter significantly over the next six months.
4. Housing Values
The value of homes across the nation has, in general, seen a 15% decrease during the last year and a 32% decrease from the high in 2006.
5. Inflation Rate
Some good news is that the inflation rate has been stable and should not impact the economy adversely over the next six months.
6. Interest Rates
Over the next six months, interest rates are predicted to be stable at 3.25% for mortgages and loans tied to the Prime Rate, while consumer loan rates are expected to increase.
- Consumer Price Index
Good news. The consumer price index is also predicted to be stable.
- Crude Oil Price
The price of crude oil had significantly declined from its high a year ago (above $100/barrel). However, it has temporarily increased during the first quarter of 2009. Good news. It is predicted to decline again to an estimated $32/barrel by the end of the year.
- Gross Domestic Product
The GDP shrank in the first quarter of 2009. However, the forecast is for a modest increase in the later quarters of this year.
- Dow Jones Industrials
The Dow Jones is predicted to go down again this summer before rebounding during the winter.
Okay, so what does all this mean? Should you start up now or wait six months? Here are some ways to look at these forecasts.
7. If you need to borrow money to start your business: Interest should remain at the current low rates but will continue to have stringent borrowing requirements.
- If you need to borrow against an asset (like your home), the value is probably at its lowest now and may increase by the end of the year (but not by much).
- Venture capital may be more available now because other instruments are not as profitable.
8. If you need a large number of buyers for your product or service, it may be better to wait because:
- Currently, personal income is low, unemployment is high, credit card borrowing to buy consumer goods is restricted, and consumer confidence is low.
- However, income, confidence and credit card borrowing are all forecast to increase later in the year, so don’t wait too long.
9. If your business needs employees:
- More potential workers will be available because of rising unemployment (perhaps at a lower rate) later in the year.
10. If your business requires travel:
- Fuel prices are predicted to go back down later in the year.
Overall, most predictors think the worst is over and that the economy will be improving, albeit very slowly. While there are some signs that we are coming out of the recession, there are not yet enough signs to constitute a trend. Therefore, if you are woman entrepreneur thinking about starting up a business, the most important factors impacting your success are the answers to these five questions:
Five Most Important Factors Impacting Your Business Success
1. Is there an adequate market for your goods or services?
2. Is the market healthy enough to support your business?
3. Are adequate resources available for your start-up (money, employees, and/or goods)?
4. Do you have reserves or other resources to see you through the tough start-up months (or perhaps years)?
5. Are you committed to your vision statement and business plan?
By giving each of these questions your full consideration, you will find out the answer to the most important question of all: Should you start up your business now, or would it be better to wait six months? In the current economic climate, the right timing can be your best indicator of business success.
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About the Author: Dr. Susan L. Reid is a small business expert and business catalyst for spiritually conscious women starting up businesses. She is the author of “Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Journey to Business Success.” To download a free copy of the Turn Your Business Dreams Into Reality Toolkit, which includes a PDF chapter of her book, go to Your Samurai Business.