The term “small business” can be a bit of a misnomer. After all, research shows that small businesses are now responsible for the majority of sales in the United States. On top of that, nearly 40% of small businesses experienced growth last year and their revenues are still increasing.
To put these stats into perspective, the number of small businesses reporting growth in 2016 was 34%. And the year before that it was only 28%. So it’s not an exaggeration to say this is a prime time for small business owners.
All this good news is driving a wave of positive feelings, as noted by the NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index. The survey hit an all-time high in April of this year, which is saying something because the NFIB has been conducting this survey since the Nixon administration.
Another key finding in the NFIB report is that there were fewer small businesses reporting poor sales than ever before. In fact, that number has been dropping consistently for 17 straight months. So while there are inevitable bumps in the road for every small business owner, the general trend is rising like a thermometer in the Kalahari.
“There is no question that small business is booming,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist of the NFIB. “Consumer spending, the new tax law, and lower regulatory barriers are all supporting the surge in optimism across all small business industry sectors.”
One corresponding issue that has arisen amidst all the fanfare is that qualified workers are becoming a rarer commodity. It’s not only a small business struggle, but something felt throughout all realms of business in the United States.
According to the NFIB report, the number of small businesses in hiring mode rose about four points from the previous survey. And the number of new jobs is at an all-time high. So it comes as no surprise that nearly a quarter of businesses reported that hiring was their most important challenge.
Despite the hiring pressures many businesses feel, they remain bullish on the future. More than 20% reported to the NFIB that they expect higher sales volumes in the future. In the construction and manufacturing sectors, these numbers were even higher.
What the future holds is yet to be seen, but for now, business is strong and trending upward. And that positive momentum brings lots of benefits to our nation’s small businesses.