Gallup Poll Finds Small-Business Owners Optimistic

According to a poll conducted in October, 71 percent of small-business owners said their company finances were “very good” or “somewhat good” – that’s an increase of 5 percent, compared to the same quarter in 2016.

The quarterly Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index poll asks business owners about their current business profile, as well as their expectations for the next 12 months. About a third of the 602 October respondents said they plan to hire more workers in the coming year, and only four respondents said they plan to reduce staffing levels in the coming year.

Small Business Trends

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index is a numeric score between -60 and 150, based on finances, revenue, cash flow, capital spending, number of jobs, and ease of getting credit. The index began in 2003, and its lowest point was in October 2010, at -28. Since then, it’s crept upward – most rapidly since 2015 – reaching a 10-year high of 106 in July 2017.

Challenges Ahead

While many small-business owners intend to add more jobs in the coming year, 16 percent of respondents said hiring and retaining qualified staff is their biggest challenge. Other main challenges business owners reported include:

  • Government regulations (11 percent)
  • Taxes (11 percent)
  • Attracting customers; finding new business (11 percent)
  • Financial stability/cash flow (8 percent)
  • Competition from large companies and internet-based companies (6 percent).

Maryland Entrepreneurs’ Outlook

In July, a Womply survey of United States small businesses found Maryland ranked sixth in the nation for small-business owner optimism. Of business owners surveyed, 44 percent of those in Maryland said they were “somewhat optimistic” about their 2017 business prospects; nationally, just 35 percent reflected the same degree of optimism. Only 21 percent of Maryland business owners said they were “very satisfied” with their 2016 business performance; nationally, 30 percent of respondents reported being very satisfied.

The top 10 concerns for Maryland small-business owners were, in order of importance:

  • Attracting customers
  • Having enough time for everything
  • Making enough money
  • Controlling costs
  • Hiring/retaining employees
  • Health insurance
  • Possibility of an economic recession
  • Retaining customers
  • Tax concerns
  • Cash flow management

Asked how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act would affect their business, 30 percent said it would depend on what replaced the ACA. Other Maryland respondents predicted the impact would be:

  • Very positive (10 percent)
  • Somewhat positive (20 percent)
  • Neither positive nor negative (30 percent)\
  • Very negative (10 percent).

A Bright Future for Businesses?

Despite the concerns small-business owners have, it seems many are planning to grow their business in the coming year. Managing growth is, in and of itself, a challenging task. Growth doesn’t happen organically, so business owners must employ forecasting and build good strategies in order to grow their business at the right pace.

Lusk Law, LLC, specializes in helping business owners achieve their goals, by offering legal advice that prepares them for the future. At every step of the way, our business law attorneys are prepared to help, and we’re ready to actively represent our clients in court, should the need for litigation arise. Our experienced attorneys have provided legal counsel and representation to businesses located in Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Carroll County, Washington County, Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County, and other counties in Maryland. Please call us at 443-535-9715 or fill out our contact form if have need legal advice for your small business.

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