Optimism about Economic Outlook Increasing Among U.S. Small Businesses

American business owners are looking to the future of their businesses with increased positivity revealed the latest Sage Business Index survey and infographic. The survey was conducted worldwide among 10,000 businesses, more than 1,900 of which are in the U.S. Both globally and in the U.S., 72 percent of respondents were small businesses.

The Sage Business Index survey polled small businesses in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Malaysia/Singapore. Businesses in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. all had an increasingly optimistic confidence level in their business’ economic outlook while France, Austria and Spain were less confident and businesses in Germany remain unchanged from last September.

Sixty-one percent of small business owners in the U.S. felt more confident about prospects for their business in the next six months than they did six months ago, compared to 55.31 percent last September. In addition, 71 percent of American business owners reported their business revenue either increased or stayed the same, compared to only 67 percent of global respondents.

“Small businesses continue to be the driver of the U.S. economy and it is inspiring that business owners are confident in their prospects,” said Connie Certusi, Executive Vice President of Sage Small Business Accounting. 

American business owners were also positive about the future of the U.S. economy, with 49.28 percent answering that they believed the country’s economy was improving, an almost 19 percent increase from September 2011. They were, however, less optimistic about the global economy. More than 42 percent responded that they were less confident about the economy, compared to 41.53 percent six months ago.

Business owners’ optimism and confidence was not without concerns, however. Inflation and the rising cost of energy, fuel and raw materials were among the top concerns for respondents. More than half of American respondents reported inflation as one of their biggest concerns for business. Below are the top three concerns for businesses globally and for the U.S.

Top three concerns globally

  1. Inflation and rising costs of energy, fuel, raw materials
  2. Instability/uncertainty in local economic market
  3. Reduced cashflow in the supply chain (suppliers/customers)

Top three concerns for U.S. businesses

  1. Inflation and rising costs of energy, fuel, raw materials
  2. Instability/uncertainty in local economic market
  3. Increasing government regulation

“Many business owners have legitimate concerns about the variables that can impact their bottom line, namely the rising cost of energy, raw goods and inflation” said Certusi. “Small business owners are always more vulnerable to these concerns, so it is wise to be mindful of the challenges that these businesses will continue to face in 2012.”