As the economy awkwardly continues to straddle the fence between recession and recovery, and everyone reacts in real time to the tiniest market fluctuations, you’re continuing to see wisdom in pinching pennies and hiding away half dollars. We understand.

And while you don’t want to flip business plans on a hyper-sensitive whim or rumor, you do want to tap into the current economic trends that could help you grow your business and lead you toward greater profitability. Here are three mounting small business challenges – ripped from the headlines and vetted for value – and, one in the same, three ways to rise above the profit shrinking they can cause if you rise to them incorrectly or not at all.

3. Jump-Start Cash Flow
When times are tough, customers find more reasons to delay or completely get out of paying. This isn’t news. But the extent to which this is affecting small business is news. A whopping 40 percent of companies surveyed in a National Federation of Independent Business study revealed that receivables are delayed more than usual. This means cash flow is weak. And because these affected businesses haven’t collected their checks, they can’t pay up in turn, perpetuating the cycle. The days of collecting what’s owed within 30 days are over, unless, that is, you can incentivize clients to pay on time. Try offering a mere pittance of a discount for customers to pay early, maybe 3 percent, and see if there are any takers. By the time you figure in the extra employee time, postage, long distance charges and other assorted collections costs, the up-front reduction will save you time, money and stress in the long run.

2. Partner Up
From healthcare laws to the impact of rumored tax hikes and ever-changing employee onboarding protocol, it’s hard to keep track of all the ways Uncle Sam affects your business. And today, the size and number of these issues seems greater than ever. Remember, you’re not alone. If you’ve always pushed aside tapping into your local Chamber of Commerce, attending small business-focused round tables with local lawmakers or even setting the alarm for an early-morning peer networking breakfast, now is the time to begin to take advantage of these opportunities.

1. Play Better Defense
Think your employees all love their jobs and plan on retiring with your jersey on? Think again. According to a report from Mercer, one-third of U.S. workers are mad as heck and they’re not going to take it anymore. Given the opportunity, they’re likely to bolt for the business across the street. But you can impact this trend. Develop a healthy workplace culture, assess your pay and benefits against the competition’s (upticking a quarter an hour now is much more affordable than spending several thousand dollars on replacing one hourly worker later), and connect the dots between the daily routines of hourly workers and how their routines contribute to the greater good offered by the business to give them fresh understanding of the value and meaning of their roles.

As a small business owner, you likely don’t have the time to identify and neutralize every potential threat to your business (that’s why we’re here). And, anyway, it’s not just being proactive and responsive that’s important – what really matters to everyone is how wisely you choose how to flow with the trends and tides that will have you drifting toward growth and profitability.