These days, there are many reasons that small business owners may be optimistic about their chances for success in the coming months, and that was once again reflected in a survey by a branch of the nation’s central bank.
In all, 55 percent of owners with fewer than 500 employees said that they saw more sales over the course of 2013, and 78 percent are expecting increases over the course of the coming year, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. In addition, more than one in three owners said that they spent more on improving their companies’ equipment and facilities throughout 2013 than they did in 2012.
Owners also noted that it’s still fairly difficult to find people who are qualified for the job openings they may have, the report said. Those with advanced computer and technology skills remain the rarest, but many companies that needed people who excelled in math or foreign languages reported a scarcity of these people as well.
Credit availability still weighs heavily on owners’ minds
However, this isn’t to say that entrepreneurs felt good about their chances for success across the board, the report said. For instance, just 46 percent of owners applied for some kind of small business credit during 2013, but another 14 percent who said they could have used some did not even bother applying because of concerns that they would simply be rejected.
In addition, of the companies that applied for credit, 57 percent received the full amount they asked for, and 22 percent only got approval for some of it, the report said. In general, companies had the most success when applying for small business credit cards, but roughly one in three didn’t receive the credit limits they’d hoped for. Meanwhile, businesses that wanted to extend current lines of credit had the most difficulty in obtaining approval. Finally, approximately one in four entrepreneurs say they will apply for credit this year, and about three in five of those people say they think they’ll be approved.
Owners hoping to shore up their finances in any way should also consider shopping around for some more affordable small business insurance policies, as doing so could help them to save thousands of dollars in expenses over the course of a year. For instance, it might be wise to consider the ways in which their existing commercial insurance coverage meets all of their needs.