Small Business Owners Once Again Growing More Optimistic

The recovering economy has, in recent months, tended to drive up the positive outlook of many of the nation’s small business owners, who now see a better chance to succeed in their markets, and that trend continued in August.

Confidence among small business owners climbed to a rating of 104.2, up from both the 102.2 observed in July and substantially from the 93.7 from August 2012, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey. Meanwhile, 73 percent of those polled said that they thought revenues will increase in the next year, and 54 percent felt profitability would follow. Both were the highest levels seen since the survey began in June 2012.

The most recent results are reflective of those seen in other small business confidence data, the report said. Both the Wells Fargo/Gallup quarterly poll and National Federation of Independent Business survey high highs not seen in several years in their most recent releases, and the National Small Business Association also recorded huge gains in July. But at the same time, a number of experts have also expressed concerns that these steps forward in positive outlooks are not particularly well founded. Or, in some cases, it may be a case of owners saying one thing but doing another.

“If small businesses were indeed optimistic we would see more plans for growth,” Craig Everett, a finance professor at Pepperdine University, told the newspaper.

Small business hiring remains significantly diminished from where current stated optimism would lead experts to believe it should be, as only half of owners say they plan to increase hiring in the next 12 months, the report said. The problem with that is this number is more or less in line with those observed since February, though still notably higher than the 40 percent observed in November 2012. Some of this, though, may have to do with stagnating credit availability to small businesses, which has remained tight even as banks have opened up financing for other types of lending.

For these reasons, it may be beneficial for owners to look into new small business insurance options as a means of freeing up extra cash that they might need to expand in the near future. Shopping around for more affordable general liability insurance, or workers’ compensation coverage, might give companies the added flexibility they need to operate successfully going forward.