Wells Fargo: Small Businesses Optimistic Despite Challenges
The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index remained mostly unchanged over the past several months, and is currently at a positive 24 (+24), compared with the third quarter Index score of positive 25 (+25). While it’s the second highest score in the last five years, the Index score is below pre-recession levels.
When business owners were asked to identify the most important challenge facing their businesses, several concerns rose to the top of the list. In the fourth-quarter survey, business owners once again said their top concern was finding new business, yet this concern dropped from 28% to 13% of responses. Other top concerns include the economy (12%), healthcare (11%) and government (11%). The number of business owners identifying “government” as the most important challenge was much higher this quarter than in the third quarter.
“Small business owners are still in wait-and-see mode,” said Doug Case, Wells Fargo Small Business Segment manager. “As they plan for next year, they are looking for more economic stability. Yet the debates around the debt ceiling and Federal budget signal more uncertainty ahead. And uncertainty suppresses business growth and expansion.”
The survey also found that nearly one in four small business owners expect to have a better operating environment and are more optimistic about their business’s future in 2014. Half of business owners surveyed said they expect the operating environment next year to be about the same as this year.
For full survey results click here.