Small business owners are optimistic about the coming year, according to a new study released from Hiscox, a small business insurer. In addition to optimism, the findings reveal U.S. small business owners are experiencing growth in revenue and planning on launching new products.
More than half of all U.S. small business owners (51%) are optimistic about the year ahead. Half of all small business owners experienced growth in revenue over the past year and 57% saw growth in new customers. At the same rate, 41% percent of all small business owners polled say that the economic climate has caused them to suffer from increased levels of stress.
The study, DNA of an Entrepreneur, includes insights from 500 small and medium-sized businesses across the U.S. and provides a unique and revealing portrait of the financial pressures, stresses, opportunities and challenges faced by entrepreneurs.
“Businesses both in the U.S. and abroad have weathered the storm of recent years and are looking forward to the year ahead with increasing courage and confidence,” says Ben Walter, CEO of Hiscox USA. “The overall sentiment, as seen both in the survey and our daily conversations with small business owners, is a positive one bolstered by renewed signs of growth and opportunity.”
The biggest concerns for small businesses are not being able to attract new clients (43%), having to pass cost increases on to customers (36%) and facing rising costs of debt (31%). Another area that continues to keep small business owners up at night is financing. Thirty-one percent of respondents worry about not having the financial resources to keep their business going, while 65% report obtaining financial funding for a new business continues to be difficult. Yet, despite growing awareness, 92% of all small business owners have not considered using crowdfunding.
Other findings revealed that the majority of small business owners (53%) report working less than 40 hours per week. However, millennials and baby boomers showed widely different conceptions of what actually constitutes “work.” While 72% of millennial small business owners, those under 30 years old, believe attending networking events after business hours is work, 40% of those over 60 years old disagree, seeing this as part of their career development.
“This past year the American small business owner has shown increased confidence in spite of the continuing challenges of obtaining funding, dealing with government regulations and taxes and protecting their data,” adds Walter.