Michael Alter is the CEO and President of SurePayroll, a Paychex Company. SurePayroll is an online service designed to help small business owners manage their payroll and the associated taxes online. Built for small business, you can easily run your payroll anytime or anywhere—they even offer a mobile payroll app.
After a mostly stagnant year of hiring growth for small businesses, the big issue we’re facing right now is not getting financing. It’s demand. Do small business owners have a need to borrow money? Right now, it looks like they’re not sure they do.
Our SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard® showed hiring down slightly in December (-0.1 percent), and year over year it was down 1.3 percent. The average paycheck also went down 1.0 percent year over year. Optimism about the small business economy is at 55 percent (this was measured before the fiscal cliff deal) and it has fluctuated in the 60s for the most part. In good times, optimism is at about 80 percent.
These numbers seem to indicate that there just isn’t enough demand right now to really jumpstart the small business economy. If there’s not enough demand, there’s not going to be any incentive to seek lending. It seems to be getting easier to secure lending, unless you’re a risky business in which case you will always have trouble. However, small businesses are waiting to see a clear path with this economy before they make an aggressive move.