Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Survey: Small-biz owners upbeat, hopeful for 2015

Small-business owners are feeling pretty good about 2015.

Business owners are more optimistic than they have been in more than six years, and are feeling the most cheerful about the year ahead since the Great Recession, according to the most recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index Survey.

The fourth-quarter survey, which polled private business owners for a week last month, returned a Small Business Index score of "positive 58," up from a "positive 49" in July and up 34 total points from a year ago.

The score is the highest its been since January 2008 when it was a "positive 83."

The survey cites several reasons for their cheery dispositions, including:

  • More than 70 percent of small-business owners feel their company's financial situation will be very or somewhat good over the next year.
  • Hiring will increase as 26 percent of small-business owners reported they plan to increase the number of jobs at their companies "a little or a lot."
  • Business owners plan to make investments in their businesses over the next year with 29 percent of them expecting to increase the amount of money they spend on capital.
  • And, more than 50 percent of business owners expect their company's revenues to increase a little or a lot. Only 14 percent expect a decrease.
But, the survey isn't all smiles. Business owners listed attracting customers and new business among their top concerns for next year, followed by government regulations and financial stability. 

The survey also questioned small-business owners about health insurance coverage, with 56 percent of them reporting that they believe the cost for healthcare in 2015 will result in some kind of financial hardship. In 2015, 25 percent of small-business owners plan to offer health insurance options for their employees, up from 19 percent in 2010.