A majority of small business owners state they are better off financially than they were a year ago, according to a September survey of Affluent investors conducted by Millionaire Corner.
Fifty-six percent said there are better off this year, vs. 44 percent who said they were not.
This echoes a new Small Business Barometer survey from Western Union that found 79 percent of small business owners believe that their annual revenue will increase or remain unchanged in the next year
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index finds more tempered optimism. The index gained 1.7 points to 92.9 in August. The National Federation of Independent Business called the report “a mixed bag.” Employment indicators for the fourth quarter showed substantial improvement, as did plans for capital outlays and expectations for business conditions. But with just over one month until the national elections, political uncertainty has reached a record high, while few employers continue to think the current period is a good time to expand, the NFIB reported.
Another downward trend is sales, the 736 randomly sampled NFIB member small businesses said. The net percent of all owners reporting higher nominal sales over the past three months lost 4 points, falling to -13 percent. This follows a 7 point decline in June. Twenty percent say that weak sales is their top business problem, historically high, but down from the record 33 percent reading in December 2010.
There are more than 27 million small businesses in the United States and they account for up to 80 percent of all new jobs, according to the Small Business Association.
The Western Union Small Business Barometer reports their current financial mindset. Among the findings:
· More than one-third (36 percent) believe that offering new products and services is the best way to grow their business, while 23 percent plan to increase their marketing efforts.
· 76 percent say “word of mouth” is the most effective promotion channel, while 33 percent prefer email and 17 percent say Facebook is best.
· One-in-four say the ability to be creative is “the best part of owning a small business; 19 percent say they like “driving the course” of their career.
· The Internet is cited as the top source for knowledge and advice, followed by friends and books.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.