The economic recovery of the last several years has many small business owners feeling more positive overall, and that trend was certainly evident in a new poll. In terms of sales and hiring, more entrepreneurs are feeling positive about their companies’ chances for success, and that may be good for the economy.
This fall, about 20 percent of small business owners say they plan to bring on more workers, while almost double that number – 38 percent – say they’re going to raise their workers’ salaries, marking the highest level seen since 2008, according to the latest PNC Economic Outlook survey, which deals with small and mid-sized businesses. This is likely the result of some 85 percent of owners feeling optimistic about the chances that their companies will have success over the next six months, more or less in line with the 87 percent who felt the same way in the spring, but up a little bit more from 81 percent on an annual basis. Likewise, only 14 percent are pessimistic, also about the same level as the 12 percent seen six months ago, but down a little from 18 percent a year earlier.
Other data suggests different feelings
Meanwhile, it seems that many companies may have such a positive outlook because 38 percent say that they plan to increase prices in the coming months, while just 4 percent say theirs will fall, the report said. In fact, some of those jumps could be substantial, with 40 percent saying theirs will grow between 3 percent or 4 percent, compared with just 31 percent staying in the 1 percent or 2 percent range. Roughly 9 in 10 likewise feel that consumer prices overall will grow in the coming year, with more than 3 in 5 saying that those increases will exceed 2 percent.
Interestingly, only 17 percent of owners say they will likely try to obtain new financing in the coming months, up a little bit from 15 percent in the spring, the report said. However, 21 percent say it’s easier to get credit now than it was just three months ago, and 17 percent felt it’s actually harder. But this is noteworthy because it marks the first time in roughly eight years that there’s a larger number of entrepreneurs believing credit conditions are easing rather than worsening.
Owners who want to cut costs and improve their chances of success may want to consider shopping around for small business insurance coverage, including liability insurance, to potentially save thousands annually.