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What's Hot in Small Business – Chris Crum

What's Hot in Small Business – Chris Crum
Chris Crum writes for Small Business Resources about what's new for small business. Chris was a featured writer with the iEntry Network of B2B Publications where hundreds of publications linked to his articles including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, LA Times and the New York Times.

Survey: Number of Small Business Owners Pleased with Overall Business Conditions Continues to Increase

Survey: Number of Small Business Owners Pleased with Overall Business Conditions Continues to Increase

CNBC and SurveyMonkey recently announced results from their quarterly small business survey. Every quarter, the two organizations poll over 2,000 small business owners in an effort to "measure the vitality of the American economy," and get a sense of how small business owners view the current landscape.

According to the most recent findings, 58 percent of small business owners believe overall conditions are good. This continues an upward trend from previous quarters (53 percent in Q2 and 39 percent in Q3 of 2017). Additionally, 33 percent of small business owners plan to increase headcount over the next year. That compares to 31 percent in Q2 and 26 percent in Q3 of 2017.

The poll found that small business owners are increasingly divided along party lines with regard to trade. 34 percent of Republican small business owners think trade will have a positive effect on their business, up from 29 percent a year ago. On the Democratic side, 58 percent believe trade will have a negative effect on their business, up from 31 percent a year ago. Overall, 51 percent of all small business owners believe that free trade agreements help small business.

There is also a party-line split with regard to tariffs, such as those proposed by President Trump. Overall, 34 percent of small business owners believe tariffs will hurt their business, with more Democrats (65 percent) believing that, compared to Republicans (13 percent). Only 8 percent of small business owners say they've already made changes because of the tariffs, but 21 percent plan to make changes in the future.

On the hiring front, 16 percent of small business owners have had open positions for at least three months, but, at 41 percent, that number is greater for bigger small businesses, those with at least 50 employees. Various surveys from different organizations in the recent past have illustrated the difficulty small businesses have had finding qualified talent. According to the CNBC/SurveyMonkey poll, 45 percent of small business owners believe a lack of education is the biggest reason that companies continue to struggle to fill skilled positions. However, 28 percent believe the reason is that it is difficult to compete against large corporations who are able to offer better pay and benefits.

When asked about the upcoming midterm elections, 22 percent of small business owners said the most important issue is taxes/spending, 16 percent said it is the cost of healthcare, and 14 percent cited the wealth gap.

SurveyMonkey chief research officer Jon Cohen commented, "Small business was a prime target for the Republican-led tax reform, and tax policy remains a salient focus for small business owners in the upcoming midterm elections. More than one in five (22 percent) small business owners single out taxes and government spending as the issue that matters most to the success of their businesses — more than any other issue including health care, immigration, regulations, and unemployment."

This survey isn't the only one that indicates that small businesses are relatively upbeat about overall business conditions. A recent survey from also found that small businesses in the U.S. are increasingly optimistic.

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