What’s the number one challenge facing your business?
If you’re like the entrepreneurs surveyed in The National Small Business Association’s 2016 Mid- Year Economic Report, it’s economic uncertainty. Forty-nine percent of the respondents, most of them owners of companies with five or fewer employees, say economic uncertainty is the biggest problem they face. Nor are they expecting relief anytime soon: 54 percent believe the economy will remain flat in the coming 12 months.
But small business owners aren’t as pessimistic about their own futures as they are about the national outlook. Some 72 percent are confident about their businesses’ futures, and 57 percent expect their sales to increase in the next 12 months.
One-third of small business owners surveyed also plan to hire employees in the coming 12 months. In fact, 12 percent plan to increase their work force by more than 10 percent—the highest this indicator has been since the NSBA started asking the question. At the same time, the number of small business owners who plan to decrease their workforce is the lowest it’s been in more than eight years.
Existing employees as well as new hires are benefiting from small business owners’ confidence. More than four in 10 small business owners (44 percent) say they increased employee compensation over the last 12 months, while 51 percent say they plan to do so in the next 12 months.