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2014 Success Study

Hedging Their Bets

Small Business Owners Feel Successful,
Remain Risk Averse and Hold on Hiring

According to the fourth annual study, in 2014 even more small business owners - a whopping 77% - feel successful about how their business is operating.

Feeling Successful


They define success based on meeting lifestyle needs, profitability and passion for work

When it comes to feeling successful, small business owners value the ability to support a comfortable lifestyle (83%), work they feel passionate about (79%), having free time to do what they wish (70%) and profitability (73%) above all.


They’re still not hiring

Most small business owners (67%) have not hired in the last year. The top three reasons why? Their business was not growing, they can’t afford to hire and they’re taking on any additional responsibilities themselves.

Not Hiring

 


They support a higher minimum wage

By and large (66%), small business owners support an increase in the federal minimum wage. In fact, most (81%) already pay their hourly employees above minimum wage and do not anticipate having to take any actions to offset the increase.

They support a higher minimum wage

 


They remain risk averse

Even though more feel successful, more than half (55%) said they operate their business’ finances more conservatively due to the most recent recession.

How number of risks taken in the past six months has changed:

 Small Business Risks



They are less concerned about macroeconomic factors impacting their business

Although small business owners remain cautious, fewer owners are concerned about certain uncontrollable risks that could impact their business.

Risks to Business



They find commercial loans are more attainable yet a less desirable funding choice

Small business owners (46%) are finding it easier to obtain loans, yet personal sources of funding now rival commercial loans, a 39% increase from 2012.1,2

Small Business Commercial Loans

 


Millennial owners (44%) are more likely this year than their Boomer (12%) and Gen X (12%) counterparts to use personal retirement savings to fund their operations.3

Millenials

 


They are better informed about the Affordable Care Act

Small business owners (84%) feel much more informed about the Affordable Care Act than they did in 2013, but their feelings on the impact the policy will have on their business remain the same.


When asked which hashtag best describes the state of their business right now, small business owners said:
 

Small Business Hashtags

 

Small business owners still want to be small business owners!

The majority of small business owners say they would want to open a business much like the one they have today.

  • 56% of small business owners say they would open a business much like the one they have today
  • 16% would open a different business from the one they have today, and 15% would not open a business at all.

 

1 In 2014 the wording of the following survey options for this question changed from previous waves: “Credit lines” became “bank credit lines” and “bank” became “bank loans.”

2 Coded responses shown/indicated from an unaided open-end question.

3 Millennial is defined ages 18-34, Gen X ages 35-49 and Boomer ages 50-68. 

 

Download Infographic

Newsroom

See the press release on the 2014 Small Business Success Study.

Read Press Release

Most small business owners in Chicago feel successful and are more likely to have hired in the past 12 months compared to their peers nationally.

Read Press Release

Chicago vs. The Nation Infographic

Small business owners in Connecticut are looking to significantly grow their business and are more likely to play a role in their community than their national peers.

Read Press Release