Despite worries, America’s small business owners bullish on economy

Top of mind for small business owners are health care costs, taxes, and hiring, and more than one-third have already taken action as a result of tax policy changes – this according to findings from a survey of American small businesses by SmartBiz Loans, an online SBA loan marketplace and bank-enabling technology platform.

According to the survey, 53 per cent and 52 per cent respectively of small business owners named (1) the cost of providing health insurance for employees and (2) the effect of changes in the new tax law as key business considerations. What’s more, 35 per cent of respondents report the new tax plan has already caused them to make changes in their business, with 10 per cent reporting that they are actively investing in new equipment or staffing.

Small business owners were surveyed on a number of topics including major concerns for the business, their growth plans for the year, hiring and talent, as well as their financing plans.

“The survey illustrates that small business owners are aware of macro trends that may impact their business,” said Evan Singer, CEO of SmartBiz Loans. “But their focus is instead on the day-to-day functions of running their company. And the great news is that the new tax plan is helping to drive immediate growth.”

One of the highest-ranking concerns for owners (with 49 per cent reporting it as a top concern) was finding and hiring quality employees. Nine out of 10 owners said they value experience over education in new hires, yet 31 per cent said they were willing to hire candidates who lack some qualifications and train them. This is an important measure to help retain and appeal to new workers in a difficult hiring environment. Owners are also deploying other measures to appeal to workers:

  • 51 per cent of owners said they were offering more flexible work arrangements;
  • 33 per cent said they were increasing wages.

 

Evan Singer

Overall, small business owners remain bullish on the economy. Almost 57 per cent of small business owners said their outlook on business growth over the next 12 months was “fairly positive” or “positive.”

“This positivity points to the resiliency of small business owners,” said Mr. Singer. “They know circumstances are changing, and they’re adapting as needed.”

Capital is an important player in that growth, and 31 per cent of respondents said that securing lower cost financing was a priority concern. According to the survey, 22 per cent of owners agree or strongly agree that access to credit has become easier in the last couple of years, though 49 per cent of small business owners agree or strongly agree that the cost of credit has increased.

To date, SmartBiz Loans’ platform has facilitated more than $500 million in SBA loan originations and helped expand access to capital for small business owners seeking SBA loans. On average, 90 per cent of the loan applications SmartBiz Loans refers to its bank partners are approved.

“These small business owners really are the backbone of the economy and I’m confident that they will continue to grow. We at SmartBiz Loans are honored to work with banks and the SBA to support them in that growth,” concluded Mr. Singer.

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