First, taking the temperature of the mood out there, the Discover Small Business Watch showed an uptick last month--49 percent of small business owners said they think the economy is still getting worse, an improvement from 53 percent who thought so the month before. In Silicon Valley, the local business journal reports, small-business owners similarly report "a reserved, low-key sense of confidence as they enter 2010," a dramatic change from the previous year.
For small business owners who've made it through the economic slump so far, 2010 will be a year of taking painful steps to stay afloat through another tough year, the L.A. Times forecasts. Sale-priced inventory, cost-cutting, and lean manufacturing are among the techniques small-biz owners there report using to keep their businesses in the black.
USA Today columnist Steve Strauss offers 10 Trends in Small Business for 2010, including newly frugal customers, contract employees, hyper-connectivity, and eco-opportunities. His number-one trend: Start-up businesses.
It's indicative of the continued climate of depressed pricing that "freemiums"--free giveaway goodies--are one of the 2010 Top 10 Small Business Ideas at young-entrepreneur site Noobpreneur.com. Others: online businesses and, once again, all things green.
Associated Press business writer Joyce Rosenberg reports on small-business owners' resolutions around the country. Tops: Spending one-on-one time with clients, learning about their needs, and taking more steps to protect company cash flow. In general, take better care of employees and clients.
On the practical, bill-paying side, Bibby Financial Services offers 10 financial resolutions for small and medium-sized businesses, including diversifying your client base and carefully tracking clients' credit worthiness.
What's your New Year's resolution for your business? Are you expecting another dismal economic year, or a slightly sunnier one? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.