Consumers More Confident, Should You Be?

Consumer confidence trended up each of the last two months of 2011, making its way back to spring levels before people turned sour. Now, given some recent positive news regarding job creation, housing and consumer spending, small business owners have something to feel pretty good about as we march forward in 2012.

We've been here before, though. Is it for real this time? I believe so. Many companies -- from the big, reorganized auto makers to landscape contractors and equipment dealers -- have spent the past few years sorting things out and figuring out how to put their best foot forward. Consumers have done the same. That's why confidence and spending are picking up. And that's why early indications are that more companies are seriously thinking about hiring again. When there is demand for product, companies can hire and expand. Stimulus doesn't do that. Time does -- time for natural market forces to work things out.

Is there demand for your products and services in your area? How confident are you as we build up to spring?

There are a few things we need to be on the lookout for:

  • Another oil/gas price spike. Remember, Iran will not warn us a second time.
  • Regulations. We know about the challenges ethanol, H-2B, emissions, etc. are causing. Looming emissions regulations that will affect trucking companies could start to have an impact on numerous costs, too.
  • End of the world. It's supposed to happen, according to the Mayans, in December. So get your holiday lighting contracts sold and collected plenty early.