Small business survey

Small business survey

A revealing survey of small business owners was released yesterday by U.S. Bank.  The survey was conducted in only 36 states with the over 3200 sample including sole proprietors through businesses with fewer than 100 employees.  Unfortunately the survey also included 3% of businesses with over 100 employees, not my definition of a small business.  

While the survey’s accuracy in reflecting the true composition of all small business owners can be questioned (93% of respondents were white), here are some interesting findings:

·         71% believe that we’re still in a recession

·         69% feel their business is in good or excellent health

·         Which issues are more important today than in the 2008 Presidential election

o   Healthcare/Medicare (65%)

o   Federal Deficit/Debt (64%)

o   Jobs/Unemployment (59%)

o   Energy Costs (56%)

o   Taxes (54%)

It is this last question that I find interesting.  When these same small business owners were then asked what would be the one thing they would do if they were President of the U.S. for one day, here were the top three responses:

·         Lower Taxes/Tax Breaks (20%)

·         Reduce Regulations (17%)

·         Health Insurance Issues (15%)

Obviously there is a disconnect between what these respondents said were their most important issues and what they said they would do as President to help small businesses.  The bottom line is that while these small business owners can identify their concerns, they don’t have good well-thought out responses of how to address those concerns other than the political talking points fed to them daily by Fox News and radio talk shows. 

Lowering taxes and giving tax breaks would seem to be a problem if your major concern was cutting the federal deficit and debt.  While these business owners have been seriously and needlessly frightened at the aspect of Obamacare (60% believed it would have a negative impact on their businesses), they have no clear ideas to offer for doing something about different.

Lastly, regulations weren’t a top concern but yet there were 17% regurgitating the boilerplate anti-regulation call to action.  Good grief.