Photo by Claire Anderson on Unsplash

A Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Survey conducted on April 1-5 shows that U.S. small-business owners are largely positive about their financial situations

Seventy percent say they are “more optimistic than pessimistic” about the financial outlook for their business over the next 12 months with 84% saying their company’s financial situation will be either very good or somewhat good one year from now. And, almost eighty percent describe their current financial situation as very or somewhat good.

Small-business owners also have a generally positive view of the national economy. Sixty-three percent of owners rate the current state of the national economy as excellent or good, and 37% say the economy has improved over the past year, while 20% say it has declined and 43% say it has remained the same.

When asked about the future of the national economy, 34% say it will improve over the coming year, 26% say it will decline, with 40% saying it will stay the same.

Still, even if the national economy conditions do worsen, over two-thirds (69%) of business owners say their company “has the right strategy to handle changes in economic conditions” with just 8% disagreeing.

Mixed Views on Impact of Tax Reform

Small-business owners have mixed views of how the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will affect them. Fifty-one percent of owners in the survey say that the law did not affect their business either positively or negatively, while 25% say it had a positive effect and 20% say it has had a negative effect.

Similarly, about half (48%) of owners surveyed said that the tax law wouldn’t have much effect on the amount of taxes they paid in 2018, with 23% saying it would result in their paying less in taxes, but almost the same percentage, 21%, saying they would pay significantly more in taxes.

Challenges for Business Owners

Based on their generally positive financial status ratings, small-business owners don’t have a dominant concern. They have a variety of answers, none of which are mentioned by more than 11% of the respondents. The five most frequently-mentioned challenges are cash flow, attracting and keeping customers, keeping good employees, taxes, hiring and dealing with competition.  

Bottom Line

Small-business owners remain positive about their companies’ financial situations and are upbeat about the outlook for their business going forward. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act appears to be a non-issue, as many owners so far have not felt any impact from it, and those who have are slightly more likely to say it has helped than hurt their business.

Owners are also mostly positive about the economy with relatively few expecting it to worsen in the coming year. However, the owners feel that they are prepared to get through whatever economic changes may occur.

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