Small Business Optimism Reaches Three-Year High

Access to capital is a top growth concern for nearly half of small businesses, according to a Kabbage survey.

small businesses and optimism

Small business optimism is at a three-year high, with 95 percent of small business owners expecting to grow their revenue in 2015. Half of these businesses expect to grow by more than 20 percent, according to a by financial services data provider Kabbage.

Top-of-mind growth issues for the more than 800 companies surveyed include access to capital (48 percent) and ongoing cash flow management (54 percent).

"Many small businesses need a fast and flexible way to get funding to grow their business. The traditional path that banks lay out to get capital is slow, involves a lot of paperwork, and even if you manage your way through that process, many small businesses still get turned away," Jon Parise, director of customer marketing at Kabbage, told eWEEK. "Small business owners are highly optimistic and have big ideas for how to grow their business."

Most small businesses intend to grow by launching new products and services (70%) and by investing in marketing (52%). and services (70%). More than 50 percent said they will start using social media marketing in 2015. The survey results also indicate businesses will turn to bootstrapping and alternative funding providers. Only 14 percent of small business owners said they plan to go to traditional banks.

"Social media is exceptionally alluring for small business owners because it’s a way to build and connect with advocates and community," Parise said. "When competing against larger competitors and corporations, small businesses really excel at highlighting the small capability of a business by having personal conversations and interactions that elevate a purchasing experience. This is something larger corporations can’t provide in quite the same way small businesses can."

The survey also revealed that being a small business owner is an around-the-clock job, with 52 percent of small business owners reporting working more than 60 hours per week. Thirty percent of respondents said they expect to work even more hours in 2015.

A majority of the small business owners reported postponing vacations, using personal savings, and cutting personal expenses, all to grow their businesses. But many are working to achieve more work-life balance, with 40% of respondents saying they expect to make fewer sacrifices in 2015 than in 2014.