This week marks the 51st annual National Small Business Week, and small businesses have more reason than ever to celebrate. Business is booming or growing for over half (56%) of U.S. small businesses, and 44 percent plan to hire during the second half of the year, according to a new Rocket Lawyer survey.
The Rocket Lawyer Semi-Annual Small Business Index, released today, takes a pulse of small businesses in the United States twice yearly to gauge the current overall sentiment and economic outlook for this community.
Small businesses make up the beating heart of the U.S. economy — more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create around two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. Here at Rocket Lawyer, these are the very people we strive to help each day by making the law more simple and affordable.
Take Doug, who developed a video game for his young daughter in an effort to bond with her. Doug combined his two passions — his family and making video games — and built her a beautiful world inside an app. He launched his new product on a bootstrapped budget as a side project, which ultimately became his full-time focus after LucasArts closed his studio. Doug turned to Rocket Lawyer to do a lot of the legal work himself and, along the way, was able to talk to attorneys when he had specific questions. Doug also has eSigned documents with a company he works with in Japan.
“Rocket Lawyer makes me feel like I have the power of an expensive company, but at my own price point,” Doug said.
Some might not realize it, but landlords make up a significant proportion of small businesses owners, and Rocket Lawyer also is there for them. Michelle, a mother of two, has used Rocket Lawyer for estate planning matters (specifically to address her mom’s recent health crisis and get prepared for her own girls), as well as for business purposes. As a business-oriented landlord, Michelle knew going in that she would need to get agreements in writing for her tenants to avoid possible problems. She started leasing out her triplex, and now is expanding and looking for a fourplex.
Dustin, another Rocket Lawyer customer, started an eco-friendly furniture company a few years ago in Minnesota, but soon garnered interest in creating sustainable tree houses. People from all over the country requested his services, establishing a name and reputation for Dustin Feider as sustainable treehouse expert and creator. Dustin’s ultimate goal was to build in redwoods, so he worked his way across the western U.S., finally settling in Oakland. His one problem: he was still incorporated in Minnesota. Dustin turned to Rocket Lawyer to transfer his LLC and ensure he and his business would be protected. He was then able to get into the nitty gritty, such as liability protection, by consulting with a Rocket Lawyer On Call attorney, who drafted a proposal to rewrite his liability agreement.
“Legal tasks are usually very mysterious to me, so using Rocket Lawyer allowed me to feel productive and efficient,” Dustin said.
A majority of small business owners (70%) believe the second half of 2014 will be even better than the first half, providing a huge opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs, according to the survey. More small businesses are hiring interns and part-time employees than in December 2013, and nearly half (47%) plan on hiring full-time employees within the next six months. The small business community plans to expand resources in a variety of departments, with top hiring priorities including sales (37%), administrative (29%) and marketing/communications (28%).
Attorney anxiety is on the decline, possibly due to an increase in the adoption of affordable and trustworthy online legal services such as Rocket Lawyer. During the first half of 2014, the number of small businesses that experienced a legal issue decreased 33 percent from the previous year; however, there was a slight increase in concerns over lawsuits from the same period last year (16%). Complying with government regulations (26%) and debt collection (17%) are the top legal concerns for small businesses.
National Business Week serves to remind us of the amazing work small businesses are doing each day to create jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness. For all things legal, Rocket Lawyer has their back.