2013 YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT

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1 YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 1 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

2 FOREWORD The National Small Business Association (NSBA) is the nation s first small-business advocacy group celebrating more than 75 years representing small business in Washington, D.C. Focused on federal advocacy and operating on a staunchly nonpartisan basis, NSBA is a recognized leader of America s small-business community. In addition to our wide array of advocacy efforts, NSBA provides critical data on the small-business community. Throughout the year, we conduct a series of surveys and quick polls, chief among them are our two Economic Reports: the NSBA Mid-Year Economic Report and the NSBA Year-End Economic Report. These reports use NSBA survey data to provide a snapshot of how small businesses are dealing with the current economic situation and provide long-term trending data. This Year-End Report shows businesses are feeling more confident in the overall economy than they have in some time. In fact, when asked to compare today s economy with five years ago, nearly half, 48 percent, said it is better off. This is up from 40 percent just six months ago and is the highest economic outlook seen in this survey since we began asking the question in February of Certainly the economic growth seen in the last six months is the primary driver of this positive change, but it is worth noting that five years ago found small businesses in the worst part of the Great Recession. Underscoring positive economic growth is the fact that 27 percent anticipate economic expansion in the coming year whereas one year ago, just 14 percent did so. Furthermore, those small firms predicting a flat or recessionary economy in the coming 12 months is at its lowest point in six years. The report also found positive growth in small-business owners confidence about the future of their own business. While just a modest change at 66 percent expressing confidence, up from 64 percent six months ago, it is nonetheless positive movement. Unfortunately, that means that one-in-three small-business owners still aren t confident about the future of their own business. three challenges to the future growth and survival of their firm. The growth in small businesses who expect growth in the coming year continues on its slow-but-steady incline with 62 percent anticipating some kind of growth in the coming year or already are growing. This growth extends to employee size, revenue and employee compensation all three indicators which increased over the last six months. While the last six years have seen a small-business community struggling to stay afloat, we also have seen the availability of capital shrink drastically at times. Fortunately, it appears that financing is improving with 70 percent reporting they are able to obtain adequate financing, up from 65 percent six months ago. Economic uncertainty continues to be key challenge for small firms making lawmakers ability to work together on the key issues facing our nation all the more critical. The number one issue small business wants Congress and the administration to do is end the partisan gridlock and work together, followed closely by reducing the national deficit. The Year-End Economic Report was conducted on-line Jan. 6 24, among 1,395 small-business owners both members and nonmembers of NSBA representing every industry in every state in the nation. Please contact NSBA s media office for inquiries at Sincerely, Economic uncertainty continues to be the most significant challenge facing small-business owners today, followed by decline in customer spending, cost of health insurance benefits and regulatory burdens. Interestingly, and something policymakers ought to heed in an election year, one-in-five small businesses ranked partisan gridlock in D.C. among their top Jeff Van Winkle NSBA Chair Clark Hill Todd McCracken NSBA President and CEO YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 2 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

3 DEMOGRAPHICS How many total full-time personnel are currently employed by your business? Which of the following best describes the structure of your business? 0 1 to 5 6 to 19 8% 27% 37% CORPORATION PARTNERSHIP LLC SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP 44% 25% S-CORP 20 to to 499 5% 24% 10% 2% 20% In what region is your business located? New England 8% Mid-Atlantic 26% Great Lakes 15% Farm Belt 5% South 25% Mountain 9% Pacific 13% Which of the following best describes the industry or sector in which your business operates? Manufacturing 19% Professional 12% Scientific and Technical Services 11% Other Services (except Public Administration) 11% Construction 9% Retail Trade 7% What was your total payroll for the most recent fiscal year? Less than $100,000 $100,000 - $500,000 $500,000 - $1 Million $1 - $5 Million $5 - $25 Million $25 - $75 Million $75 - $150 Million More than $150 Million 5% 0% 0% 2% 15% 21% 25% 31% What were your gross sales or revenues for your most recent fiscal year? Wholesale Trade 7% Information (IT) 6% Transportation and Warehousing 2% Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting 2% Health Care and Social Assistance 2% Educational Services 2% Real Estate, Rental and Leasing 2% Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation 2% Less than $100,000 $100,000 - $250,000 $250,000 - $500,000 $500,000 - $1 Million $1 - $5 Million $5 - $25 Million $25 - $75 Million $75 - $150 Million More than $150 Million 10% 10% 10% 4% 1% 2% 17% 17% 29% Administrative and Support 1% Insurance 1% Finance 1% Management of Companies and Enterprises 1% Waste Management and Remediation Services 1% YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 3 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

4 SMALL BUSINESS CONFIDENCE Building upon the positive outlook small businesses expressed in the Mid- Year Economic Report, America s smallbusiness owners today are expressing even more confidence about the economy and their business than they have in several years. Nearly half of small firms said today s economy is better off than it was five years ago up from 40 percent just six months ago and the highest it s been since NSBA began asking the question in February of Underscoring positive economic growth is the fact that 27 percent anticipate economic expansion in the coming year whereas one year ago, just 14 percent did so. Furthermore, those small firms predicting a flat or recessionary economy in the coming 12 months is at its lowest point in six years. The report also found positive growth in small-business owners confidence about the future of their own business. While just a modest change at 66 percent expressing confidence, up from 64 percent six months ago, it is nonetheless positive movement. Unfortunately, that means that one-in-three small-business owners still aren t confident about the future of their own business. While the road ahead looks more promising than it has in some time, 41 percent of small-business owners say they are concerned that inflation could be an issue facing their business in the coming year while 36 percent say rising interest rates are a concern. Economic uncertainty continues to be the most significant challenge facing small-business owners today, followed by decline in customer spending, cost of health insurance benefits and regulatory burdens. Interestingly, partisan gridlock in D.C. was offered for the first time in this survey as an option and one-in-five small businesses ranked that among their top three challenges the future growth and survival of their firm. When compared with six months ago, would you say today s national economy is: 12 29% 26% 16% 19% BETTER OFF When compared with one year ago, would you say today s national economy is: 11 21% 23% % 35% BETTER OFF 13 44% 42% 31% 30% WORSE OFF 12 48% 47% % 33% WORSE OFF 40% 39% 18% 44% ABOUT THE SAME 31% 32% 33% 30% ABOUT THE SAME Compared to FIVE YEARS AGO...Would you say the nation is: 48% 39% 14% BETTER WORSE SAME 40% 45% 15% 24% 62% 13% 23% 68% 9% YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 4 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

5 SMALL BUSINESS CONFIDENCE What are the three most significant challenges to the future growth and survival of your business? 13 Economic uncertainty 59% Decline in customer spending 38% Cost of health insurance benefits 37% Regulatory burdens 29% Federal taxes 21% Lack of available capital 19% Partisan gridlock in D.C. 19% Growing national debt 16% Lack of qualified workers 15% State and local taxes 12% Cost of employee salaries 11% Cost of technology 6% Foreign competition 6% Cost of employee benefits 5% Cost of training workers 4% No major challenges 2% Do you foresee any of the following issues being a problem for your business in the coming 12 months? 41% 41% 36% 5% Inflation Deflation Rising interest rates None of the above Thinking about the next 12 months, do you anticipate: 27% 56% 17% ECONOMIC EXPANSION FLAT ECONOMY RECESSION 24% 56% 20% 14% 51% 35% 11% 55% 34% While the road ahead looks more promising than it has in some time, 41 percent of small-business owners say they are concerned that inflation could be an issue facing their business in the coming year while 36 percent say rising interest rates are a concern. YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 5 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

6 SMALL BUSINESS CONFIDENCE From a financial perspective, how do you feel right now about the future for your business? Confident Not Confident 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Aug. 08 Dec. 08 July 09 Dec. 09 July 10 Dec. 10 July 11 Dec. 11 July 12 Dec. 12 July 13 Dec. 13 The report also found positive growth in small-business owners confidence about the future of their own business. While just a modest change at 66 percent expressing confidence, up from 64 percent six months ago, it is nonetheless positive movement. Unfortunately, that means that one-in-three small-business owners still are not confident about the future of their own business. YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 6 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

7 BUSINESS GROWTH Today, two-thirds (62 percent) of small-business owners either expect growth in the coming year or already are growing, a notable jump from 50 percent one year ago and up from 59 percent six months ago. Interestingly, despite positive growth in economic outlook, there was very modest growth in small-businesses revenue and profits over the last 12 months. Looking ahead to the coming year, however, there was a notable increase among small firms projecting growth in revenue from 47 percent in July to 54 percent today. Nearly half plan to employ new advertising and marketing strategies in the coming year and one-third expect to expand e-commerce. Do you believe there will be growth opportunities for your business in the coming year? 47% 38% 15% Which of the following growth strategies will you use in the next 12 months? New advertising and marketing strategies 46% Internet / Expand E-commerce 34% Strategic alliance 32% YES NO ALREADY GROWING 45% 41% 14% 38% 50% 12% 41% 45% 14% Hire new employees 23% No growth strategies will be used in the next 12 months 19% Investments in R&D 14% Joint Venture 14% Expand operations to new facilities/add additional stores 10% Outsourcing 7% Acquisition 4% Merger 4% Other 8% YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 7 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

8 BUSINESS GROWTH How much did your gross sales/revenues change over the last 12 months? How much do you expect gross sales/revenues to change over the next 12 months? 38% 39% 24% 54% 18% 28% INCREASE DECREASE NO CHANGE INCREASE DECREASE NO CHANGE 37% 37% 27% 36% 38% 26% 39% 40% 22% 47% 21% 32% 47% 23% 30% 45% 24% 31% How much did net profits change over the last 12 months? How much do you expect net profits to change over the next 12 months? 31% 45% 25% 46% 22% 33% INCREASE DECREASE NO CHANGE INCREASE DECREASE NO CHANGE 31% 42% 27% 32% 45% 23% 31% 48% 21% 42% 27% 32% 39% 29% 33% 37% 31% 31% YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 8 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

9 JOB GROWTH Small businesses reported modest increases in employment numbers from six months ago. Today, 22 percent of small firms report increasing their employee size, up from 18 percent six months ago and 19 percent one year ago. While 24 percent reported decreases in employee size, a drop of two percentage points, there still exists negative net employee growth among small business respondents. Looking ahead, the number of small-business owners who project increases in employee size in the coming 12 months jumped from 26 percent in July to 30 percent today with a commensurate drop in those who plan to decrease their number of employees. Employee compensation experienced a bump with 45 percent of small-business owners reporting they increased employee compensation over the last 12 months, up from 41 percent six months ago. Looking forward, nearly half (46 percent, up from 40 percent) say they plan to increase employee compensation in the coming year. How much did the number of employees change over the last 12 months? How much do you expect THE number of employees to change over the next 12 months? INCREASE DECREASE NO CHANGE 22% 24% 54% 18% 26% 57% 19% 26% 55% 19% 25% 55% INCREASE DECREASE NO CHANGE 30% 10% 60% 26% 14% 60% 25% 16% 60% 25% 12% 63% ` How much did EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION change over the last 12 months? How much do you expect EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION to change over the next 12 months? Increase 45% 41% 41% 43% Increase 46% 40% 42% 43% Decrease 15% 14% 12% 16% Decrease 8% 10% 9% 13% No Change 39% 45% 47% 41% No Change 45% 50% 49% 44% YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 9 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

10 SMALL BUSINESS FINANCING Using NSBA data from as far back as 1993, there is a clear correlation to a small-business owner s ability to hire and his/her ability to get financing. While the last four years have seen a small-business community struggling to stay afloat, we also have seen the availability of capital shrink drastically at times. Fortunately, it appears that financing is slightly improved for small firms today, with 70 percent reporting they are able to obtain adequate financing, up from 65 percent six months ago. When asked if their business has been impacted by the credit crunch, 65 percent say it has down from 69 percent six months ago and its lowest point in five years. Has your business been impacted by the credit-crunch? YES NO 65% 35% 69% 31% 68% 32% 75% 25% Have you experienced any of the following changes on any of your lines of credit or on your credit cards in the last six months? 12% 11% 77% More small firms rely on traditional bank loans (41 percent which includes loans from large banks, community banks and credit unions) than any other source of financing. Earnings of the business and credit cards are the second and third highest used source of financing. INCREASE DECREASE NO CHANGE 11% 15% 74% 11% 13% 76% 11% 16% 73% Today, 70 percent of small businesses report that they are able to obtain adequate financing, up from 65 percent six months ago. YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 10 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

11 SMALL BUSINESS FINANCING Is your business able to obtain adequate financing? What types of financing has your company used within the past 12 months to meet your capital needs? YES NO Bank loan (total of 3 options below) 41% 33% 45% 30% 70% 35% 65% - Large bank loan 20% 13% 23% - Community bank loan 19% 18% 19% - Credit union loan 3% 2% 3% Earnings of the business 34% 35% 43% Credit cards* 33% 31% 31% Used no financing 27% 30% 24% Private loan (friends or family) 17% 17% 17% Vendor credit 17% 16% 18% Leasing 6% 5% 7% SBA loan 3% 5% 3% Private placement of debt 3% 2% 1% Selling/pledging accounts receivable 2% 2% 3% 27% Private placement of stock 1% 1% 0% Online or non-bank lender 1% State/regional loan and incentive programs 1% 1% 1% Other (please specify) 5% 5% 5% 73% For bank loans that are currently outstanding, which of the following has occurred in the last 12 Months? Terms have become less favorable to your business. 13% 14% 11% 13% 34% Terms have stayed the same. 41% 33% 43% 41% 66% Terms have become more favorable to your business. 5% 6% 8% 9% Do not have outstanding loans. 41% 46% 39% 37% YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 11 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

12 SMALL BUSINESS FINANCING Percentage of Small Businesses Carrying Any Debt 80% 88% 79% 73% Please estimate your small businesses total debt, including loans, credit cards, property mortgage, invoices owed, etc Debt 1 to 50k 28% 33% Debt 51k to 100k 11% 11% 101k to 500k 35% 31% 501K to 1mil 12% 11% More than 1mil 18% 15% ` Average debt among those that do have debt $815,883 $835,828 YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 12 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

13 SMALL BUSINESS FINANCING Do you believe that the terms of the credit cards you use for business have improved or gotten worse over the last SIX MONTHS? 5% 27% 53% 16% IMPROVED GOTTEN WORSE NOT SURE N/A - I DON T USE CREDIT CARDS If capital availability is a problem for your business, what is the effect on your operations? Not a problem / No effects 54% 50% 57% 54% Unable to grow business or expand operations 36% 36% 29% 33% Reduced the number of employees 20% 20% 14% 16% What is the approximate interest rate you are charged on your primary business-related credit card? 13.74% Unable to finance increased sales 17% 18% 16% 18% Reduced benefits to employees 13% 14% 11% 9% Unable to increase inventory to meet demand 11% 10% 8% 11% Closed stores or branches 3% 4% 2% 2% Other 3% 3% 2% 6% YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 13 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

14 SMALL BUSINESS FINANCING CORRELATION BETWEEN AVAILABILITY OF CAPITAL AND EMPLOYMENT GROWTH ` Able to get financing Increased Employment 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Feb. 08 Aug. 08 Dec. 08 July 09 Dec. 09 July 10 Dec. 10 July 11 Dec. 11 July 12 Dec. 12 July 13 Dec. 13 Using NSBA data from as far back as 1993, there is a clear correlation to a small-business owner s ability to hire and his/her ability to get financing. YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 14 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

15 PUBLIC POLICY Which one of the following issues do you believe Congress and President Obama s administration should address first? End the partisan gridlock and work together 18% Reduce the national deficit 17% Reducing the tax burden 13% Simplify the tax system 11% Reducing the regulatory burden on businesses 9% Increase small business access to capital 7% Rein-in costs of health care reform 7% The Year-End Economic Report asked general questions on policy and to determine what small business wants from our elected officials. Not surprising, when asked to rank the top items that Congress and the administration should address, the number one issue was end the partisan gridlock and work together. That was followed closely by reduce the national deficit, simplify and reduce the tax burden, reduce regulatory burden, increase smallbusiness access to capital and rein-in costs of health care reform. The number one way small businesses believe we should address the national deficit is to reform and reduce entitlement spending, followed by targeted cuts for certain federal agencies and programs. Reform the federal contracting system 3% Tort reform 1% Reform Immigration 1% Improving education to provide a qualified domestic workforce 1% Enact a comprehensive energy policy 1% Credit card reform (that includes SB) 1% Reduce the burden of unfair labor laws 1% Reform the estate tax 1% Remove barriers to small-business exporting 1% Other 6% Which of the following deficit-reducing proposals would you support? Reform and reduce entitlement spending 55% Targeted cuts for certain federal agencies and programs 41% Eliminate all tax credits and deductions in conjunction with dramatically lower income tax rates 30% An across-the-board budget cut for federal agencies 28% Greater authority of the administration to reduce Congressionallyapproved spending 25% A combination of tax increases and spending cuts 24% Eliminate certain tax credits and deductions even those which may benefit my business 24% A tax increase for those making more than $250,000 annually 19% Other 9% YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 15 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

16 CONCLUSION METHODOLOGY Small employers comprise 99.7 percent of all employer firms in the U.S. One in two workers in the private workforce run or work for a small business, and one in four individuals in the total U.S. population is part of the small-business community. Firms with fewer than 500 employees accounted for 64 percent of net new jobs between 1993 and the third quarter of 2008 and 32 percent of those gains came from the creation of new, small firms. Small businesses, despite a more positive overall economic outlook, continue to struggle with growth and hiring. Not only are our elected officials not doing enough to improve the U.S. economic situation, oftentimes, they are causing economic stagnation by their inability or unwillingness to deal with serious issues facing the country, going so far as a resulting government shutdown. The Year-End Economic Report was conducted on-line Jan. 6 24, among 1,395 smallbusiness owners both members and nonmembers of NSBA representing every industry in every state in the nation. Small businesses simply need the environment to grow and create jobs: economic stability; predictability, fairness and transparency in taxes and health care costs; common-sense regulations that don t unfairly disadvantage small firms; and lawmakers willing to tackle the major issues facing our country, and to do so together. Please click here for more information on NSBA s priority policies. For past Economic Reports and other issue-specific surveys from NSBA, please visit our Surveys & Reports page on the NSBA website. For questions, interviews or to reprint any or all of this report, please contact the NSBA public affairs department at or YEAR-END ECONOMIC REPORT 16 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

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