Small-business owner optimism reaches all-time high

According to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index last quarter, optimism among small-business owners reached a record high in the fifteen years of the report.

The poll asks small-business owners various questions about optimism, including: “overall financial situation, revenue, cash flow, capital spending, number of jobs and ease of getting credit.” Last quarter, the overall index score was 118, eclipsing the previous quarter’s score by twelve points.

In fact, the only challenge that over 10 percent of owners list as the most important is hiring and retaining qualified staff, which 18 percent of business owners face. However, at the same time, 35 percent of owners anticipate that the number of jobs at their company will rise over the next twelve months.

According to the US Small Business Administration, small businesses thrive in Arizona specifically. As of January, 99.4 percent of Arizona’s businesses were small (meaning they had less than 500 employees), and 44.5 percent of Arizona employees work for a small business.

National Federation of Independent Business state director Chad Heinrich explains that Arizona is an optimal place for small business owners. “What makes Arizona a great place to live is part of the same equation for why it’s a good place to start a business,” Heinrich says. “Most people that live in Arizona come from other places. Because of this, it’s easy to start a business – people are very open-minded and willing to accept new ideas and new businesses.”

Heinrich also notes that the state “responds well to small business needs” and ensures that all small business owners receive optimal opportunities for their firms. This translates into better business and more economic growth.

“What we’re hearing from our members is that the optimism does flow into their business decision making. If they’re optimistic about their economic growth, they’re more willing to invest in more employees and better benefits for existing staff,” notes Heinrich. “Another thing that’s important is that small businesses can be very capital intensive. They’ll make capital spending decisions when optimism is high.”

Because small-business owners are experiencing an unprecedented wave of optimism, they will likely help boost the state and national economies. With more job opportunities, better benefits, and increased cash flow, small businesses have much higher ceilings for growth, which will prove to be a major boon for all Arizona citizens.

Ben Norman

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