Small Business Owners Feeling Better About Conditions

The slow but mostly steady economic recovery seen in the broad national economy has impacted small businesses across the country differently, but a rising tide lifts all boats and many are doing far better today than they were just a few years ago. Now, it seems that more recent improvements have likewise boosted the sentiments of these companies’ owners for future success as well.

Through the end of last week, 47 percent of small business owners said that they thought overall economic conditions had improved over the previous year, an increase from 43 percent a month earlier, according to the latest Small Business CEO survey from the Wall Street Journal and Vistage International. Meanwhile, just 9 percent said they think conditions will worsen over the coming few months, compared with 14 percent a few weeks earlier. In addition, nearly three out of four such executives said that they think they’ll see better sales numbers, a figure unchanged from February, but that was also up from 69 percent a year earlier.

Bottom lines likely to improve
Interestingly, while many experts have cited the harsh winter weather seen in many parts of the country as being impactful to such companies’ bottom lines, this seems not to have been the case, the report said. More than 58 percent said that they experienced no effect, and close to 8 percent said such concerns were not applicable to them in any way. However, those who did take a hit seem to have only suffered small ones, as more than 20 percent said they’d seen revenues drop between 1 and 10 percent. Just 1.67 percent of those polled said they saw them decline 25 percent or more.

Over the next 12 months, 57.3 percent of owners polled said that they expect profitability to improve, and some 30.2 percent likewise think they’re going to hold steady, the report said. Slightly less than 12 percent felt that their profitability would decline in the coming year.

Owners who are concerned about the health of their bottom lines even now might want to consider the ways in which they can improve their performance by trimming some fat from their budgets. Finding more affordable small business insurance coverage, like liability insurance, may help them to save thousands of dollars annually, and potentially devote those funds to other, more important areas of their firms.