As we head into summer, most small business owners are feeling sunny about their growth—even though 85 percent say they’ll spend part of their vacations working. Will you be tapping away at your laptop or tablet poolside? You won’t be the only one. Nearly half of business owners report that they use mobile apps for business every day, so it’s easier than ever to escape the office (but harder than ever to escape work).
Twice yearly, we ask hundreds of small business owners like you about their top concerns, priorities and hopes. Our infographic sums up what more than 1,000 of them had to say:
Do these results match your experience?
It’s Not Just the Economy Anymore
We found it interesting that fewer than half of small business owners now put the economy at the top of President Obama’s to-do list. That number has dropped by more than 19 percent since our last survey in January. Still, management of the government is a big concern: almost one in five said the administration should give priority to the national debt.
And though the overwhelming majority of our respondents are predicting more growth in the second half of the year, it’s not a full vote of confidence:
Optimism has declined since January, and more people are now saying they expect things will get worse or stay the same (up from 18 percent to 27 percent).
More than 47 percent said their businesses are growing, and 8 percent even said things are booming. That’s a 30 percent jump from last June, but it’s also a slight decrease from January.
- Despite the growth spurt, less than 36 percent said they are planning on hiring in the next six months—a 5 percent decline from a year ago.
Work From Anywhere, All the Time
- More than 47 percent of respondents said they use mobile apps for business purposes every day.
- Gen-Xers, maligned as slackers as they came out of college in the 90s, are now among the hardest working age groups: 39 percent of those aged 31 through 47 said they “always” work on vacation. So do the 48- to 66-year-olds.
- Mobile use is highest among 18 to 30-year-olds, at 62 percent.
- Gen-Xers are close behind, with 58 percent making mobile part of their daily work routines, compared with just 27 percent of those over 67.
More than 71 percent of the businesses we surveyed said they don’t provide health benefits to their employees, and under the new Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), they won’t be required to. That’s because the healthcare reform law exempts businesses with less than 50 employees.
But there’s still a lot of confusion about it:
- About 30 percent say they expect to see a big increase in health care costs, while 29 percent expect no change and the rest don’t know what will happen.
- Only about half say they’re aware of the new healthcare exchange marketplaces, where they can buy plans at the same rates as the big guys.
Washington is Still Far From Main Street
- Immigration reform is big news in the capital, as Congress debates a sweeping overhaul. Meanwhile, just 3 percent of the people we heard from thought it should be a top priority for the administration.
- Only 23 percent say they support it.
More than half (56 percent) said they had faced a legal issue this year. The top troubles? Contract negotiations (23 percent), failure to collect payments (14.5 percent), and real estate transactions (14.3 percent).
Interestingly, the number of people who having difficulties with patent applications has doubled in six months, from 2.5 percent to almost 5 percent. This may be a reflection of the patent law changes that went into effect in March, moving us from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system.
The number of people who said patent or trademark issues were their top concern also jumped 50 percent, to 9 percent.
- Complying with government regulations remains the top concern for 29 percent of small business owners.
If you’re one those small business owners facing a legal issue, we’re here to help you take care of it the right way. Visit our Small Business Center for the legal help and our resource library.
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