Recent studies on small businesses both reveal optimism and certainty in the economy and in the state of business in the coming months. The "2015 State of Small Business Report" by Wasp Barcode Technologies had 1,088 respondents among various industries that held between 11 and 499 employees. A second survey came from Endurance International Group, “Small Business Economic Outlook for 2015,” and provided responses from 850 small businesses based in the U.S.
The Wasp Barcode report showed that 35 percent of respondents felt “slightly better” in their confidence in the economy versus how they felt toward it a year prior. In the same survey, only 8 percent felt “significantly worse” about the economy, and overall businesses with 11 to 50 employees were “more pessimistic about the economy.”
In the Endurance International Group survey, when asked of their “general business outlook for 2015,” 45 percent of those surveyed felt “positive” and another 26 percent were “very positive.” Endurance found that only 27 percent of those responding planned to hire new employees in the coming year, though, which makes me wonder just how positive their outlook really is. On the other hand, however, 46 percent said they planned to make “financial investments such as investments in developing new products, buying materials or real estate,” in 2015.
A majority of the SMB leaders surveyed for the Wasp Barcode report said that they expected “revenue and sales to increase in 2015” (57 percent), but those same leaders saw this as having the potential to pose challenges, too. The report identified that 15 percent of the respondents had spent $100,001 plus on IT equipment and software in 2014, and only 13 percent increased their IT spending by less than $1,000. However, 32 percent believed there would be no change in the percentage of budget for IT spending in 2015.
One interesting aspect that the Endurance International Group studied that the other report did not was in the area of government. This study showed that 87 percent of those surveyed felt that the U.S. Congress is not effective at addressing small business issues and challenges, and even more telling, 69 percent feel that the newly elected Congress would not be any better at addressing those issues than the previous one. Overall, though, the respondents felt that Congress needs to “play a larger role in helping small business growth” in the U.S. (74 percent). The most important issue identified by those surveyed? Taxes, followed by obtaining bank financing in second place.
These two surveys uncover interesting thoughts behind the “backbone of the U.S. economy,” small businesses. It seems that perhaps government leaders should pay closer attention to the needs of the companies that contribute to the most growth and job development in our country, but despite the fact that they don’t, these businesses still feel their glasses are half full.