Small Business Optimism Improves, but Economic Outlook Slides
The Capital One survey also suggested small businesses believe mobile technology will have the most positive impact on interacting with customers.While many businesses experienced a boost in sales during the fourth quarter of 2013 and an increased optimism about business prospects ahead, the overall economic outlook has worsened, with less than half of business owners anticipating favorable conditions over the next six months, according to Capital One’s latest Spark Business Barometer. Despite the fact that more small businesses are reporting sales improvements, only 46 percent of small businesses expect their firm’s financial situation to improve over the next six months and 9 percent anticipate lower performance. The quarterly survey of small businesses measures the economic perceptions and financial conditions of small business owners across the nation, as well as the most common trends and challenges that today’s small businesses face. "On the heels of positive short-term sales results, our survey found that a growing number of small business owners continue to have concerns related to the economy, and are exploring and embracing new technologies to help manage their business and work more efficiently," Keri Gohman, head of small business banking at Capital One, said in a statement. "This is a trend we’ll watch closely as Capital One continues to innovate and introduce digital products and services designed to optimize business."
National sentiment about current business conditions among many small business executives is negative, as more than half (54 percent) consider conditions only fair or poor, representing a two-point increase compared to the previous quarter.