Is Small Business Faring Better?

Cynthia Kay

Is Small Business Faring Better?

The news has been terrible for years so small business owners are hungry for some good news. They got it. In a recently released survey by the National Small Business Association (NSBA), there was a sense of confidence that finally things might be on the upswing.  If you want to check out the whole report here is a link

If you just want the highlights here’s just a sampling of the results.

When asked to compare today’s economy with five years ago, 50 percent say it’s better—the highest it’s been in six years. If the business is doing well, then employees benefit. According to the survey employees are faring better. 3-in-4 small firms either increased employee compensation in the last year, or plan to do so in the coming year. Half of those surveyed also said that they had added new employees. This is a very good sign. There has been so much uncertainty that employers, myself included, have been hesitant to hire. No one wants to spend the time and money to add staff and train them only to have to cut back when business takes a dip.

The full report goes on to detail other positives for small business but it also highlights some very serious concerns. One of the biggest is inflation. We all hear about the inflation rate but it is easy to get lulled into denial when we hear the rate went up 2% during the last 12 months. It is quite another thing to see the numbers over time. I was doing some searching and found an inflation calculator.

It was interesting to do some research. For example, if you bought a $20 item in 2000 it would cost $27.67 in 2014. That is a 38.4% increase. That is just one item. My business is very equipment intensive so when you add up all the purchases in a year the inflation rate has a significant effect. Couple concern over inflation with the fear of rising interest rates and the economic picture is not quite as positive as one might think from the survey results. Still small business owners are resilient and forward thinking.  Many of us know that we simply cannot sit still and wait for the economy to continue to improve. We need to invest to keep growing.

The NSBA Survey stated, “When asked about growth strategies planned for the coming year, 43 percent said they plan to employ new advertising and marketing strategies and just under one-third said they will expand internet and e-commerce operations.”

That confidence will be important as we finish off 2014