The improving economy over the last few years has put millions of small businesses across the country in much better financial positions, and as a consequence their owners are starting to feel more confident about their chances for success going forward.
Now, polling actually shows that owners are now more confident than they’ve been at any point in the last seven years, based on issues including their companies’ financial situations, jobs, spending, credit availability, and so on, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index. The overall rating came in at a 71, up significantly from 58 in the previous poll. However, that number still has a long way to go before getting back toward pre-recession norms, which tended to be in the 100s.
“This continues the general upward movement seen in the index since it reached its low point in 2010, although it remains below the high points registered in the years prior to the Great Recession,” wrote Coleen McMurray and Frank Newport, who conducted the survey. “Small-business owners’ more upbeat views of their operating environments come at a time of generally positive economic trends in economic growth and unemployment, as measured by the government, as well as year-over-year upticks in Gallup’s consumer-based reports on employment, company hiring and consumer spending.”
A closer look
Meanwhile, owners are not only feeling better about their outlook for the future, but also for the present, the report said. While the rating based on future expectations came in at a 43, up from 37 in the previous poll, there was an even sharper increase on both an overall and proportional basis, in terms of how owners feel about current conditions. The current rating of 28 was up seven points from the previous 21, but also marked an increase of one-third, and reflects just how positive the last few months have been for most owners.
In all, close to half of all owners say their revenues have at least increased somewhat over the last year, up from 42 percent three months earlier, the report said. That’s the highest level observed since 2007.
Owners who want to position their companies for ongoing success might want to consider the benefits of finding more affordable small business insurance. For instance, if they can cut costs for errors and omissions insurance, they might be able to free up thousands annually to improve their companies’ standing.