Although headwinds remain strong, small business owners have an improved outlook on the year ahead. According to the latest Small Business Owner Report from Bank of America, 56 percent of owners expect revenue to increase during the next 12 months. Also in that time period, 41 percent expect the national economy to improve and 45 percent expect the local economy to get better. Only 34 percent and 38 percent said the same in 2012, respectively, suggesting that confidence has increased this year.
Many owners are hoping to expand their operations, as nearly one-third plan to hire new employees in the next year. The top reasons given for adding staff was to increase business and bring new skills to the team. However, nearly half of owners said it is a challenge to find qualified workers.
Many struggle to find candidates knowledgeable about their industry and skilled with tools of the trade. While it is possible to train unskilled workers, the process can put an extra strain on managers, especially if employee retention is low: 59 percent of small business owners said they had some degree of frustration with their staff. While lack of skills was a notable issues, employers were generally more troubled by workers’ poor time management and lack of proactive thinking.
Health care, government presenting challenges
Employee management, however, was just one small business owner concern. More than three-quarters noted health care costs and government mismanagement as the top concerns they will face in the next 12 months. Thirty-five percent of owners said their hiring plans are being affected by health care legislation, with 9 percent saying they are dropping hiring plans altogether because of it.
Fears of inadequate government leadership are likely related to federal budget plans, which will reach deadlines in the next few months. Low consumer spending, high commodity prices and decreased value of the U.S. dollar, which were other concerns reported in the survey, could be potential consequences of a government default.
But despite these concerns, the majority of small business owners are still expecting increased revenue in the coming year. As these owners develop growth strategies for 2014, some may find it beneficial to increase their capital. Owners should consult a small business lender that will cater to their needs. National Funding offers a simple and quick application process, giving small business owners an alternative to the unreliable and time-consuming hassle of banks.