Small Businesses are Gearing up for Growth

CrainsWith the economy improving, firms get set to hire talent and invest in information technology.

Evan Stein may be one of the best divining rods out there if you are searching for insight about the likely path of the small business economy in 2014. Mr. Stein, the owner of an IT sales-and-service franchise, CMIT Solutions of Grand Central and Wall Street, has been talking to his small business clients about their spending plans for next year.

Budgets are up, and “pretty much everybody I talk to is planning to hire one or two more employees,” he said.

Many of the firms—in architecture, law and finance—are finally biting the bullet on delayed IT expenditures. Microsoft is ending support for its XP operating system in April, and a full 25% of Mr. Stein’s client base still uses old XP machines. “I expect a big uptick in February and March,” he said. One of his clients just spent $500,000, financed over five years, to buy 10 computers, a new server and new networking equipment.

Like CMIT and its clients, many small businesses are preparing cautiously for a year of economic growth, a slowly rising tide of consumer confidence and the tenure of a new mayor who has promised some relief from city regulations. They’ll also have to contend with the continuing rollout of the Affordable Care Act and changes in the health care market, as well as a crackdown on labor practices and a radically changing marketing landscape.


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