Almost 70% of small and medium business (SMB) owners are optimistic they’ll see business growth, expansion, or increased revenue over the next 12 months, but their enthusiasm is tempered by unease over political uncertainty in Washington, according to a new survey released today by Business.com.
Driving their optimism is the administration’s plans for deregulation, with 61% of respondents saying the promise of deregulation has impacted their business investment plans, 34% going even further to say the impact would be great. Excessive regulations hinder hiring, according to 56% of SMB owners, while 33% see regulations blocking investment in new technology, software, and equipment. Of the respondents who envisioned an acquisition or other liquidity event over the next year, 63% said it would be facilitated by deregulation.
As to the greatest threat to their businesses’ survival, more than a quarter of respondents (26%) said “political uncertainty.” The other top responses, “taxes” (32%) and “regulations” (21%), both hinge on the unsettled political climate in Washington.
“Our Business.com survey shows that the people who drive the vital small and medium business sector of our economy clearly expect proposed deregulations from the Trump administration to stimulate business growth, investment, and acquisitions,” says Doug Llewellyn, President and COO of Purch, which recently relaunched Business.com to bring together industry-specific communities of small business owners with the experts who can help them understand and grow their businesses. “Given the central role of SMBs nationwide, growth in that sector can have ripple effects throughout the economy. But a lot of the current optimism rests on Washington, so it’s not surprising that political uncertainty looms so large in their threat assessments.”
The Affordable Care Act drew mixed responses with 32% saying it had no impact on their growth, 26% feeling it impacts how and when they hire, and 26% saying it affects how and when they spend. And while 48% think health insurance regulations are among the most restraining they face, 59% saw governmental applications, licenses, and reviews as even more restrictive.
The Business.com survey ran April 10-17, 2017, with nearly 900 Business.com members across a variety of industries from around the country responding. For more information on the survey, please visit https://www.business.com/articles/small-business-optimism-trump-survey/.