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Small Business Optimistic About Business? Economy?

by Cynthia Kay

If you don’t mind a huge generalization, I believe that small business owners are an upbeat and positive group. You have to be to start and run a business especially during uncertain economic times. This week when the National Small Business Association (NSBA) released its Year- End Economic Report for 2015, the results were interesting.

Small businesses are less optimistic than they were six months ago about the economy, 32 percent say it is worse off compared to 28 percent back in July. At the same time, there was an increase in the number of small-business owners who are confident in the future of their own businesses. In fact the report states, “75 percent of small-business owners expressed confidence in the future of their own businesses—up from 71 percent six months ago, and the highest this indicator has been in four years.”

It seems ironic but I don’t think it is hard to explain. Many business owners, myself included, started out working for a business there was not much control over their life and career.  They dreamed about owning a business, running it and growing it. At some point, they took that leap of faith. Why? These individuals decided it was better to bet on themselves than someone else.  That, I believe, is why the survey results show that business owners are confident that they will be successful even if the economy is not strong or conditions not ideal for their product or service.

Look no further than the popular Shark Tank and you will see this play out in many episodes. Time and time again, entrepreneurs are told by the Sharks that their idea is not commercially viable, the business can’t be scaled, the cost of the product is too high and the list goes on.  These entrepreneurs don’t get offered a deal. In the post-presentation interviews, individuals often say they will succeed despite what they have been told. Sometimes they are right. Sometimes the Sharks are right. The point is that business owners believe in their businesses which might partially explain the survey results.

Business owners must also be positive about their employees because 57 percent of the companies increased employee compensation over the last 12 months. This is an indication that small business owners understand that employees, often much fewer in number than larger firms, are critical to the success of their company. And, let’s face it, it costs a lot to recruit and train new employees.

But the news was not all good. Many small businesses still report issues with access to financing. Cybersecurity is also a constant problem. NSBA found that, “attacks cost small businesses on average $7,115.26. For those firms whose business banking accounts were hacked, the average losses were $32, 020.56”

Perhaps the biggest takeaway for me was that 58 percent of those surveyed believe that the economy will be flat over the next twelve months. So where do I stand on all of this? I agree with this assessment but…. I am still really positive about the future of my business! Call me an optimist. To read all of the NSBA survey results, follow this link.


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