Small businesses are having their moment in the spotlight as the 2012 election nears. Since growing the economy is one of the major issues of this election, John Arensmeyer decided to poll the owners of small businesses about their outlook on the economy. He presented his findings in the post ”New Poll of Micro Businesses: Who They Are and What They Do for the Economy” for the Huffington Post.
First, about that term “micro business”—Arensmeyer categorizes any business with fewer than 10 employees as a micro business, which is 95% of businesses in the US. The percentage drops only to 80% if you limit the definition to those businesses with employees in addition to the owner.
Arensmeyer finds business owners remarkably optimistic, especially compared to the vision we get from the campaign rhetoric:
“Recent reports, many by organizations polling their membership, have portrayed small business owners as practically devoid of optimism about the economy. But we used a scientific, random sample of small business owners and found just the opposite. A majority of the 470 micro business owners we surveyed are confident about the future of their business and the economy.
Specifically, seven in 10 believe their business will be faring well over the next couple of years and an overwhelming 81 percent of respondents under 40 feel the same way.”
The one place Arensmeyer found concern among small business owners was access to capital. While the Small Business Administration announced its second-largest loan volume ever ($30 billion), that’s just a start. Small businesses grow the economy by creating jobs, and both campaigns need to present clear plans.
Laura Abrahamsen, October 23, 2012