Study: Customers, Employees, Trump’s Election Driving Strong Optimism Among U.S. Small Business Owners

70% of U.S. small business owners are optimistic about prospects in 2017.

70% of U.S. small business owners are optimistic about prospects in 2017.

National survey also highlights local businesses’ top worries, opinions on political and policy concerns, and how sentiment translates into actions like hiring and expansion

SAN FRANCISCO – May 2, 2017 – Womply, the leader in front office software for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), today released the results of a national small business sentiment and intentions survey that polled thousands of owners in all 50 states. The study, which is released to coincide with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week, reveals that local merchants are overwhelmingly optimistic about business prospects, with their confidence driven by customers, employees, and the election of a new U.S. president.

“The country’s 28 million small businesses are an important bellwether and a window into the pervading mindset on Main Street,” says Womply spokesperson Brad Plothow. “By understanding what local business owners are thinking, we can make predictions about where the economy, labor market, and even the political landscape may be heading throughout 2017 and beyond.”

The study draws correlations between what’s driving optimism or pessimism for small business owners and how that sentiment might affect actions like hiring, increasing wages or benefits for employees, and intentions to expand or liquidate the business. Read the full report here.

Key findings:

  • Confidence is high on Main Street. The study revealed that 70 percent of small business owners are optimistic about business prospects in 2017, compared to 13 percent who are pessimistic.
  • Trump inspires and divides entrepreneurs. Donald Trump’s election as the 45th U.S. president has had a polarizing effect on small businesses, with optimists identifying Trump as their No. 3 reason for confidence (behind customers and employees) and pessimists saying he’s their No. 1 reason for concern.
  • Daily business concerns are paramount. We asked owners to rank their top worries. Overall, pragmatic concerns are top of mind, with attracting customers, having enough time for everything, and making enough money rating as top worries nationally.
  • Business performance drives optimism. We combined Womply’s sales transaction data for 4 million small businesses with survey responses to identify connections between business performance and general sentiment. As expected, we found a positive correlation between revenue growth and business optimism.
  • Business optimism drives economic impact. Optimistic owners are 3.5 times more likely to hire and give raises to employees this year, whereas pessimists are 6.5 times more likely to reduce staff headcount and employee pay. These findings suggest that the impact of small business confidence is enormous when aggregated nationally.
  • Taxes are top of mind, healthcare not so much. We asked owners for opinions on timely political and policy matters that affect business. Taxes are the policy area most small businesses want changed, ranking far ahead of healthcare, business regulations, overtime, immigration, and other issues. Regarding healthcare reform, a majority (29%) say that repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would have no impact on their business. 

“In 2017, we’ll see a number of important conversations play out that will impact the collective psyche of American small businesses,” Plothow says. “Local merchants are clearly tuned into current events and factor the broader economic and political landscapes into their business decisions. Small businesses will continue to drive economic and job growth in the U.S. as long as confidence and optimism remain high.”

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About Womply

Womply is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider to small and medium businesses and one of the fastest growing software companies in America. Our mission is to use technology and data to grow, protect, and simplify small business. Every day we serve tens of thousands of merchants, across 400+ business verticals, in every corner of America. To learn more, visit http://www.womply.com or email info@womply.com.