Many small business owners are likely dealing with a number of spinning plates at any one time, and keeping them all in the air isn't always easy. However, there are still several concerns that seem to stand out more than others, and leading the pack is still compliance with the Affordable Care Act's coverage mandate.
Today, 49 percent of all small business owners say that the ACA is still among their biggest challenges going forward, according to the latest quarterly survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That's up from just 39 percent in the same month two years ago, and 45 percent just a quarter ago. Even those who don't think it's their biggest concern seem to be worried about its impact, as 71 percent of those polled say that the law's various requirements will likely make it more difficult to bring on new workers in the future. Further, just three in 10 say that they have taken the necessary steps to keep up with the law.
About half of all small businesses also say that they're going to have to reduce employees' hours, or the number of full-time workers they employ, just to stay compliant with the law, the report said. Further, some might even have to replace full-time employees with part-timers as a means of skirting the requirements that those working more than 30 hours a week be covered; slightly less than a quarter will reduce the number of these workers to fewer than 50 so they don't have to comply with the law.
Of course, other issues still remain for small businesses as well, as 44 percent each cited over-regulation and economic uncertainty as being among their top concerns going forward, the report said. Another two in five said that they thought America's deficit and debt were concerning, and about one-third also cited high taxes.
Where does that leave small businesses?
As a result of all these issues, it seems that the vast majority of small business owners think it won't be easy to hire in the near future, the report said. More than three in five companies say they will not hire within the next year, and 77 percent of those polled said that they think the U.S. economy is on the wrong track, even as they're more optimistic about the prospects for local success, and that of their business individually. In all, 73 percent of owners say that they think their companies are headed in the right direction, and just less than half felt the same way about their local economies. Meanwhile, just 17 percent felt that way about the national economy.
Today, 88 percent of small business owners say that they support the U.S. Congress taking a look at entitlement spending as a means of getting the economy back on track, the report said. Further, 83 percent want to see more effort on the part of federal lawmakers to reform the current tax code, especially if that means it will be less complex.
When small businesses want to succeed, one great way of doing this may include reducing overall necessary costs. For instance, taking a look at whatever small business insurance policies a company may have – including tech, workers' compensation or liability insurance policies – to see if it would be possible to find more affordable coverage may be able to significantly reduce the amount of money contributed to these concerns. The more owners shop around, the more likely they will be to find the best possible deals on the policies they may need to stay afloat.