February 22, 2017

By Bob Coleman
Editor, C-Suite Wednesday

C-Suite Wednesday — Small Business Owners are Optimistic that the National Economy is Headed in the ‘Right Direction’; an 11-Point Jump from Previous Survey

Says Union Bank in their post-election survey.

Stats you should know:

  • Post-election survey finds small business sentiment mixed about the business climate in the next two years.
  • 20% view federal government’s efforts to stimulate small business as good or very good compared to nearly 40% that view more government programs as a way to grow.
  • Nearly one-half of small businesses plan to keep prices the same.
  • Those looking to hire are looking for full-time staff.
  • In California, nearly 25% of owners are concerned about minimum wage increases.

“It’s very encouraging to see more business owners holding a positive view of the U.S. economy compared to last January, when more than half believed the economy was going in the wrong direction,” says Union Bank Managing Director Todd Hollander, Head of Business Banking. “Although we see some potential challenges ahead, this confidence is essential if further job growth and expansion is to occur.”

Nearly half of small business owners reported steady sales in 2016, a double-digit increase from 2015. Forty-six percent plan to keep prices the same. This is in line with the January 2016 results. At the end of 2016, 26 percent of those surveyed indicated they would raise prices versus 29 percent earlier in the year.

Referrals from existing clients remain the most common, though declining, means of generating new business (down 4 percentage points). Fourteen percent of those surveyed are adding locations and/or purchasing new or leased equipment. This is a four-point increase vs. January 2016.

However, in general, business owners are not looking to increase capital expenditures. Sixty-seven percent indicated that they plan to keep capital expenditures the same.
I am always interested in the definition of a small business.

Union Bank says, “ The small business respondents were screened to ensure that they have been in operation for a minimum of two years with owners over the age of 25. The small businesses were defined for the survey as having $15 million or less in annual sales.”