By Maria Valdez Haubrich
Are you feeling optimistic about 2012 so far? If so, you’re not alone. An overwhelming 85 percent of small business owners believe that 2012 will be a better year for small business than 2011, according to a new survey conducted by RocketLawyer. Only 10 percent thought it would be “about the same.”
But despite the positive outlook, entrepreneurship is not all fun and games. As your company grows, you face new challenges, such as hiring employees, negotiating contracts and expanding to new office space. These growing pains are likely to bring some key challenges in the coming year, admitted entrepreneurs in the survey.
When asked what is the hardest part of running a small business, the top response was “dealing with legal issues.” Cited by 29 percent of respondents, this outranked responses including “managing profit” (26 percent) and “staying ahead of the competition” (19 percent).
What specific legal areas caused the biggest problems for small businesses? The areas that small businesses struggled with most were contract negotiations (cited by 15 percent), real estate transactions (13 percent), corporate compliance and debt collection (both at 12 percent) and incorporation (10 percent).
What are small business owners’ biggest fears about their business? When asked for their number-one legal concern, by far the biggest worry was facing an IRS audit. Even though IRS statistics show that just 1 percent of businesses with under 1 million in sales were audited last year, nearly 37 percent of businesses said they worried about being audited.
In addition, 13.9 percent said their top fear was being victimized by theft or fraud. Another 13.9 percent said they worried most about trademark or patent issues.
These fears aren’t entirely unfounded, either. The majority of small business owners in the survey (52 percent) said they had faced a legal issue or problem in the past year.
Have you faced a legal challenge in your business, or are worries keeping you up at night? Find out how you compare to other entrepreneurs–view full survey results at the RocketLawyer site.
Image by Flickr user Pedro Vera (Creative Commons)