While some economic analysts may fear a double-dip recession, entrepreneurs are looking at the world of business with a level of optimism not seen in years, according to the results of a recent survey. Despite rising levels of confidence, small business owners can never be too safe when it comes to cash flow management and can investigate procuring a small business loan.
Conditions rated as best in three years
The rising tide of optimism among American entrepreneurs was recently revealed in the latest CitiBank Small Business Pulse survey. In it, 48 percent of respondents said small business conditions were good or excellent. That number is up from 43 percent in May last year, and markedly improves upon the 24 percent who said the same this time three years ago.
As a result, the proportion saying conditions were poor dipped to 14 percent, the lowest such level since CitiBank began its survey in 2010.
The optimism fed into increased expectations for performance: nearly 50 percent forecast annual sales growth this year, with one-third predicting that growth to go beyond 10 percent. Fifty-four percent thought 2014 would also be a strong year for small businesses.
“The rise in those that have a favorable view of current business conditions is unmistakable,” said Jerome Byers, head of Citibank Small Business. “While about half still fault sales for preventing them from achieving business goals, just as many business owners project improved sales this year and next.”
Challenges still exist
While 26 percent of respondents said they are likely to hire full-time employees within the next 12 months, 16 percent said they have encountered difficulty in recruiting qualified workers. It’s resulted in small business owners spreading themselves too thin; 54 percent said they had to cover multiple responsibilities because they could not afford to hire.
Other small business owners faced financing problems that forced them to dip into personal savings. Thirty-three percent of respondents said they mix personal and business finances, a potentially risky decision. Forty-two percent use personal credit for business purposes and 17 percent borrowed from pension and retirement funds.
However, the trend of using personal coffers to fund business operations has been on the decline: 62 percent did so in 2012, while 37 percent admitted to it in 2013.
While more entrepreneurs have expressed optimism about business conditions, many still may require help financing their enterprises. To help, National Funding stands at the ready to assist small business owners through equipment leasing and small business merchant cash advances.