Small Business Confidence Shows Slight Improvement

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A survey of 1,100 small business owners conducted by the National Small Business Association found some areas of improvement in the overall small business environment — news which should encourage thousands of small retailers in the pool and spa industry — although the survey highlighted almost as many areas of concern.

When asked to compare today’s economy with five years ago, 40 percent said it is better off — the highest level the survey has reported since the beginning of the recession. And the number of small firms predicting a flat or recessionary economy in the coming 12 months fell to its lowest level in 5 years. 

However, when speaking about their own prospects as opposed to the general economy, respondents were much less sanguine. According to the NSBA survey, while positive expectations for the overall economy increased 14 percent since July 2012, respondents’ optimism about their own businesses increased by just 4 percent over the same time period. And just two-thirds of small businesses (65 percent) report they are able to obtain adequate financing, down from 73 percent six months ago. Small businesses owners continued to cite economic uncertainty as the number one challenge they face, followed by decline in customer spending and cost of health insurance.

 â€śUnfortunately, small-business owners didn’t express that same positive growth when it comes to their own business. Past and projected growth in jobs and revenues remained stagnant while small businesses availability to garner financing dropped—two key indicators that go hand-in-hand,” NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken said.

NSBA also asked about key policy issues including health care reform and taxation — both of which remain major points of concern and confusion. Just one-in-five small-business owners say they have a clear understanding of how the new health care law will impact their firms. On the tax front, almost half (43 percent) say they have been the subject of an IRS audit or follow-up action in the last 10 years.

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