Small Business Optimism Hits New High in 2015 U.S. Bank Small Business Survey

  • More business owners plan to hire, expand in coming months
  • Business conditions strongest so far this decade
  • Not taking action yet, demand for credit is still low

2015 U.S. Bank Small Business Annual Survey.

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MINNEAPOLIS--()--The results of the 2015 U.S. Bank Small Business Annual Survey are in and they show small business owners are more confident about the future of their businesses now than at any time in the six year history of the survey. Optimism is on the rise, businesses are healthier, and they may be on the verge of taking action to expand; however, few are actually seeking credit to do it.

“The economy is gaining momentum and we are starting to see optimism rise among small businesses,” said Andrew Cecere, chief operating officer of U.S. Bancorp. “There is tremendous potential in that optimism. Small businesses are critical to the health of our economy. As their bankers, we are always advocating for them and looking for ways to help them take advantage of opportunities to expand and grow.”

When asked about the national economy, 18 percent of small business owners said they felt the economy was in recession in 2015, down from 89 percent in 2010. Moreover, 67 percent say the national economy is in recovery or expansion, up from 46 percent in 2013.

Business owners who said they plan to add staff increased to 25 percent in 2015 from 20 percent in 2014. Three out of four (76 percent) say their business is financially strong, and their revenues have stabilized, with 28 percent saying revenue increased and 52 percent stating that it had stayed the same over 2014.

Most are still not seeking credit, however, with 86 percent reporting they had not tried to borrow money for business purposes in the last six months. Of those who did borrow, 65 percent said it was easy, compared to just 44 percent who cited easy access to credit last year. In addition, significantly more small business owners (34 percent) said they plan to make a capital expenditure to expand their business over the next year.

“We are more than lenders – we are champions for small businesses, focused on helping convert their dreams and ideas into practical and prudent plans,” said John Elmore, vice chairman and head of branch channel and delivery at U.S. Bank. “Our role as bankers is to understand our small business clients’ opportunities and challenges as much as possible. They want us to relate to them in a simple, transparent way, and to be with them for the long haul – through the times of growth and contraction.”

Increased competition and rising healthcare and labor costs surfaced as more significant challenges facing business owners this year, however for the first time since 2010, fewer than half (47 percent) said the long-term impact of the Affordable Care Act will be negative. Business owners were split on whether the health care law resulted in premium hikes – 49 percent said they had higher premiums, 45 percent said there was no impact, and 7 percent said their premiums were lower. (Note: percentages do not add to 100 because of rounding.)

Mobile and social media are now an established part of the small business owner’s overall delivery, with 75 percent of respondents saying they have integrated a mobile solution into their business strategy, and 67 percent reporting that they maintain a social media presence to make connections, find talent or market their business. Top business uses of mobile include accessing bank accounts, accessing social media, making and accepting payments and depositing checks. They also offer mobile-friendly sites, use apps to organize and manage their business and use text alerts to market products, services or promotions.

The U.S. Bank Small Business Survey, now in its sixth year, monitors the attitudes, perceptions and outlook of small business owners across the 25-state U.S. Bank footprint. The survey was conducted by Market Probe via an online sample in January 2015 among 3,202 small business owners with less than $10 million in annual revenue. Full results of the survey are posted on U.S. Bank Connect, a small business networking and information sharing site for small businesses from U.S. Bank.

About U.S. Bank
U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), with $410 billion in assets as of March 31, 2015, is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the 5th largest commercial bank in the United States. The Company operates 3,172 banking offices in 25 states and 5,016 ATMs and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at usbank.com.

Contacts

U.S. Bank Corporate Communications
Teri Charest, 612-303-0732
teri.charest@usbank.com
@usbank, @usbank_news

Contacts

U.S. Bank Corporate Communications
Teri Charest, 612-303-0732
teri.charest@usbank.com
@usbank, @usbank_news