Consumer confidence and housing starts are increasing, so we can look forward to the continued strengthening of the economy. At the same time, there are concerns about the sequestration and budget maneuvering on Capitol Hill.  Depending on who you believe, the market is going to go up or down. As a business owner, I don’t care. While I certainly want to see our economy get stronger overall, when it comes to day-to-day operation of my business, the larger global economy has very little impact.

Take a look at the chart created by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. They have tracked business optimism since 1986. Notice the sharp decline since 2005. If I had been waiting for the economy to turn around and people to regain confidence before investing, Roundpeg would have failed a long time ago. The truth is that my business has cycled down during periods of economic growth and it has expanded when the economy has been flat or declining. My actions or lack thereof have a significantly stronger impact on the performance of my business quarter to quarter than what is going on in the economy.

nfib optimism index 201306

So it is time to stop using the economy as an excuse. Stop waiting for the next election or the next fiscal quarter. Stop saying things like, “I was going to make that investment, but the economy…” or “I had to pull back because of the economy.”

Successful small businesses approach the economy head on. If it’s in a down cycle, they know that is the time to invest in advertising and marketing. As competitors pull back, it’s easier to stand out. They don’t wait until they lose that one key client.  They plan ahead by setting aside funds to experiment with products, services and promotions in new markets. Start diversifying your product mix and your customer base.

If your business succeeds or fails, it won’t be because of the economy. It will be because of your actions.

The bottom line? We, small business owners, fuel the economy. Small businesses with fewer than 500 workers have consistently outperformed large firms in net job creation annually since 1992. Over 60% of all private sector, non-farm jobs come from small business.  

When we hire peopleor invest in our businesses, it creates a domino effect in our community. We can wait for the government to bail us out or the economy to turn around, or we can do it ourselves.