San Francisco, CA, May 14, 2014 - Rocket Lawyer, the fastest growing online legal solution for small businesses, today announced the results of its Semi-Annual Small Business Index. Findings reflect 2014 is off to a positive start, as business is booming or growing as expected for over half (56%) of U.S. small businesses, spurring new hires and international growth plans. However, the biggest struggle for SMBs continues to be attracting new business (42%). The survey takes a pulse of small businesses in the United States twice yearly to gauge the current overall sentiment and economic outlook for this community.
Building on this year's growth, small businesses will continue to drive the economy. Some 44 percent plan to hire during the second half of the year -- up 21 percent from December 2013.
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. 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%).
Despite expectations for growth and an optimistic outlook, small businesses are still approaching the future with caution. Moving into the second part of the year, small businesses are most concerned with attracting new business (42%), marketing and PR (25%), and attaining and maintaining profitability (24%). Economic uncertainty remains a major concern for nearly one-quarter (23%) of small businesses.
"Small businesses continue to propel the economic recovery forward, creating jobs that are the foundation for prosperity," said Charley Moore, founder and CEO of Rocket Lawyer. "The growth small businesses have seen during the first half of 2014 will allow them to expand and hire during the second half of the year. When it comes to legal services, technology is giving SMBs an edge. Rocket Lawyer helped thousands of startups incorporate, and SMBs have created millions of contracts in 2013. We are especially thrilled to see how many SMBs use our mobile apps for legal advice from local attorneys, at a fraction of the traditional time and cost."
Minimum Wage Worries Diminished
Despite media buzz surrounding the minimum wage increase, the majority of small business owners (57%) believe it won't affect their business. While the minimum wage debate is often portrayed as a partisan issue, more than half of Republicans (52%) and over two-thirds of Democrats (69%) believe an increase will not impact their business. However, Republicans (27%) are over six times more likely than Democrats (4%) to believe increasing the minimum wage will result in decreased hiring.
Tech is Thriving
A significant number of small business owners (41%) expect the most opportunity for growth in the technology sector. While the healthcare industry continues to be viewed as the second-most opportunistic industry (25%), it appears to be waning as the category saw a seven percent decrease since December 2013. Food and hospitality (9%) is the third-most promising industry for growth, according to the survey.
Millennials continue to be all the rage in the small business world -- they are tech savvy and eager to rise in the worker ranks, and many are striking it out on their own as entrepreneurs. Millennials are hiring the most of any demographic (55%), but 27 percent do not understand basic legal and compliance issues and more than one-fifth (21%) have not created an HR handbook. One-third (33%) of Millennials are most worried about getting sued, and over a quarter (27%) lose sleep over complying with government regulations.
Legal Ups & Downs
Attorney anxiety is on the decline, possibly due to an increase in the adoption of affordable and trustworthy online legal services. During the first half of 2014, the number of small businesses that experienced a legal issue decreased to 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.
In honor of Small Business Month, Rocket Lawyer recommends that small business owners revisit their legal documents and consult with a local attorney. Check out this infographic for additional survey findings: http://blog.rocketlawyer.com/?p=15996
About Rocket Lawyer™
At Rocket Lawyer, we believe everyone deserves affordable and simple legal services. Since 2008 we've helped over 20 million families and small businesses take care of their legal matters so they can focus on what really matters. From free legal documents and business incorporation to discounted rates from outstanding attorneys, we're here to help every step of the way. For more information on Rocket Lawyer, please visit https://www.rocketlawyer.com and follow Rocket Lawyer on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.